Press Release

American Academy of Arts and Sciences Awards Sarton Prize to Vanesha Pravin


Poet recognized for exceptional talent, promise

CAMBRIDGE, MA | December 8, 2015 — The American Academy of Arts and Sciences has named Vanesha Pravin as the recipient of the 2015 May Sarton Prize for Poetry in recognition of her achievement and her promise as an emerging poet. This award will be presented to Pravin at the Academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts on April 14, 2016.

Vanesha Pravin teaches at the University of California, Merced, and her poems have appeared in Slate, Callaloo, Crab Orchard Review, Many Mountains Moving, Prodigal, and Phoebe. Her first collection of published poems, Disorder (University of Chicago Press, 2015), features a series of authentic narratives that cut across generations and geography. In describing Pravin’s collection, Academy Member and former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky observed, “A central challenge for American art has been the confluence of immigrant histories. Pravin’s Disorder attains a global and historical perspective, uniquely personal yet wide ranging.”

“May Sarton was a poet, novelist, and teacher who, throughout her career, actively encouraged the work of gifted young poets. Through our poetry prize named for her, the American Academy demonstrates its commitment to nurturing a new generation of artists for the benefit of the common good,” said Jonathan F. Fanton, President of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. “Each time we award this prize to a rising talent like Vanesha Pravin, we honor the memory of May Sarton.”

Presented for the first time in 2008, the Sarton Prize recognizes emerging poets of exceptional promise and distinguished achievement. Previous Sarton Prize recipients, and their most recent work, include: Arda Collins, It is Daylight (Yale University Press); Matthew Dickman, All-American Poem (The American Poetry Review); Dawn Lundy Martin, A Gathering of Matter / A Matter of Gathering (University of Georgia Press); Meghan O’Rourke, The Long Goodbye (Riverhead Books); and Matthew Zapruder, Sun Bear (Cooper Canyon Press).

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of the country’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers, convening leaders from the academic, business, and government sectors to respond to the challenges facing the nation and the world. In its work, the Academy focuses on higher education, the humanities, and the arts; science and technology policy; global security and energy; and American institutions and the public good. Academy research has resulted in reports like The Heart of the Matter and Restoring the Foundation: The Vital Role of Research in Preserving the American Dream. Projects under the guidance of the Academy’s Committee on International Security Studies address the impact of energy and security technologies on global prospects for peace and prosperity. The Academy’s work is advanced by its more than 5,000 elected members, who are leaders, from around the nation and the world, in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.