New York, NY (Month Day, 2017)—The Academy of American Poets is pleased to announce that Juan Felipe Herrera has selected Jenny Xie as the recipient of the 2017 Walt Whitman Award, the nation’s most valuable first-book prize for a poet. As the winner of the Whitman Award, Xie’s manuscript, Eye Level, will be published by Graywolf Press in April 2018 and the Academy of American Poets will purchase and send thousands of copies of the book to its members, making it one of the most widely distributed poetry books of the year. Xie will also receive a six-week all-expenses-paid residency at the Civitella Ranieri Center in Umbria, Italy, as well as $5,000. In addition, she will be featured on and in American Poets magazine.

The 2017 Walt Whitman Award-winning book, Afterland, by Mai Der Vang will be published by Graywolf Press in April 2017.

Established in 1975, the Academy of American Poets’ Walt Whitman Award is designed to encourage the work of emerging poets. Previous recipients include poets Nicole Cooley, Suji Kwock Kim, Eric Pankey, Matt Rasmussen, and current Academy Chancellor Alberto Ríos, among others.

About Eye Level Herrera writes: “Between ‘Hanoi and Sara,’ the collection begins and continues with its ‘frugal mouth,’ that ‘spends the only foreign words it knows.’ This knowing ‘travels’ in a spiral-shaped wisdom. We go places, we enter multiple terrains of seeing, we cross cultural borders of of time, voices, locations, and consciousness. Then we notice we are in a trembling stillness with all beings and all things. A timely collection of beauty, clarity and expansive humanity.”

Jenny Xie was born in Hefei, China and raised in New Jersey. She holds degrees from Princeton University and New York University’s Creative Writing Program, and has received fellowships and support from Kundiman, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Elizabeth George Foundation, and Poets & Writers. She is the recipient of the 2016 Drinking Gourd Chapbook Prize for Nowhere to Arrive, and her poems appear or are forthcoming in The New Republic, Tin House, Harvard Review, The Literary Review, Narrative, and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn and teaches at New York University. 

About Juan Felipe Herrera

Juan Felipe Herrera is currently serving his second term as Poet Laureate of the United States. He served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2011 to 2016. His numerous honors include the L.A. Times Book Prize’s Robert Kirsch Award (for lifetime achievement), the PEN/Beyond Margins Award , and the Americas Award, as well as fellowships from the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference, the California Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Stanford Chicano Fellows Program, and the University of California at Berkeley. Over the past three decades, he has founded a number of performance ensembles, and has taught poetry, art, and performance in community art galleries and correctional facilities. He is the author of many collections of poetry, including Notes on the Assemblage (City Lights, 2015); Senegal Taxi (University of Arizona Press, 2013); Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems (University of Arizona Press, 2008); 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross The Border: Undocuments 1971–2007 (City Lights, 2007); and, Crashboomlove (University of New Mexico Press, 1999).

About the Academy of American Poets

The Academy of American Poets is the nation’s largest membership-based nonprofit organization fostering an appreciation for contemporary poetry and supporting American poets. The organization produces, National Poetry Month, the popular Poem-a-Day series, American Poets magazine, resources for K-12 educators, an annual series of poetry readings and special events, and the Academy of American Poets Prizes, a suite of major awards that recognize emerging and established poets.

About Civitella Ranieri

Located in a fifteenth century castle in the Umbrian region of Italy, Civitella Ranieri Center is a workplace for international writers, composers, and visual artists. Since 1995, Civitella has hosted more than six hundred Fellows and Director’s Guests. In keeping with the spirit of its founder, Ursula Corning, and the tradition of hospitality and support for the arts that she established at the castle, the Center enables its Fellows to pursue their work and to exchange ideas in a unique and inspiring setting. For more information, visit

About Graywolf Press

Graywolf Press is a leading independent, nonprofit publisher committed to the discovery and energetic publication of contemporary American and international literature. Graywolf champions outstanding writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry at all stages of their careers to ensure that diverse voices can be heard in a crowded marketplace. Recent books published by Graywolf have won the Pulitzer Prize, the Nobel Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the National Book Award, among others. For more information, visit


Michelle Campagna (212) 274-0343, ext. 22

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