CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Five poets are recipients of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Poetry Prize. The award, being presented for the first time, recognizes emerging poets of exceptional promise and distinguished achievement. It was established to honor the memory of longtime Academy Fellow May Sarton, a poet, novelist, and teacher who during her career encouraged the work of young poets. Sarton died in 1995.
The winners will receive a $2,000 honorarium and an opportunity to have their work published in the Academy’s journal, Daedalus. The recipients were selected by a group of prominent American poets, all Fellows of the Academy: Paul Muldoon, Carl Phillips, Charles Simic, C. D. Wright, and Adam Zagajewski.
“The leaders from every field and profession who make up the membership of the American Academy have a deep commitment to nurturing the next generation of scholars and artists,” said Leslie Berlowitz, Chief Executive Officer. “In recent years, we have established several fellowships to support the research of postdoctoral students and junior faculty in the humanities, the social sciences, and science policy studies. With our May Sarton Poetry Prize, we expand that effort by recognizing the work of early-career creative writers.”
Winners of the Academy’s 2008 Poetry Prize are:
- Arda Collins – Arda Collins is a candidate in the Ph.D. program in poetry at the University of Denver. She holds an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she was a Glenn Schaeffer Fellow. Her poems have been published in The New Yorker, A Public Space, The American Poetry Review and elsewhere. Her collection of poems, It Is Daylight won the 2008 Yale Series of Younger Poets Award, and is forthcoming from Yale University Press.
- Matthew Dickman - Matthew Dickman is the author of "All-American Poem" winner of the 2008 APR/Honickman first book prize from the American Poetry Review and Copper Canyon Press. His work has recently appeared in Tin House, The Boston Review, The American Poetry Review, Dossier Magazine, and The New Yorker. He has received fellowships or residencies from Oregon Literary Arts, the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin, the Breadloaf Writers Conference, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. He lives and works in Portland, Oregon.
- Dawn Lundy Martin – An assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh, Martin is a founding member of the Black Took Collective, a group of experimental black poets; co-founder of the Third Wave Foundation; and co-editor of The Fire This Time: Young Activists and the New Feminism (Anchor Books, 2004). Her books include The Morning Hour, a collection of poems that was selected in 2003 for the Poetry Society of America’s National Chapbook Fellowship, and A Matter of Gathering / A Gathering of Matter (University of Georgia Press, 2007), which won the 2006 Cave Canem Book Prize. Her work has appeared in Hambone, FENCE, nocturnes, Encyclopedia, and Callaloo.
- Meghan O’Rourke – O’Rourke grew up in Brooklyn, where she now lives. After earning her B.A. from Yale University in 1997, she joined The New Yorker as an editorial assistant and became an editor there in 2000. In 2005 she was named poetry co-editor of the Paris Review. She is the 2005 recipient of the Union League Civil and Arts Award. Her poetry and prose have appeared in The New Yorker, The New Republic, Kenyon Review, Poetry, The New York Times Book Review, and elsewhere. Her first book of poems, Halflife, was published by W. W. Norton in 2007.
- Matthew Zapruder – Zapruder is the author of two collections of poetry: American Linden, published by Tupelo Press in 2002; and The Pajamaist, published by Copper Canyon in 2006. The Pajamaist was winner of the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, and was chosen by Library Journal as one of the top ten poetry volumes of 2006. German and Slovenian language editions of his poems are forthcoming from Luxbooks and Serpa Editions. Luxbooks is also publishing a separate German language graphic novel version of the poem "The Pajamaist." An editor for Wave Books, Zapruder teaches in the low residency MFA program at the University of California, Riverside-Palm Desert and at the Juniper Summer Writing Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In 2007 he was a Lannan Literary Fellow in Marfa Texas. He lives in San Francisco.
Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. Current Academy research focuses on science and global security; social policy; the humanities and culture; and education. With headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Academy’s work is advanced by its 4,600 elected members, who are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business and public affairs from around the world. (www.amacad.org)