$25,000 for the year's most outstanding book of poetry
New York, August 23—The Academy of American Poets announced today that C.D. Wright's One With Others (Copper Canyon Press) was chosen by poets Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, D.A. Powell, and Martha Ronk to receive the 2011 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, which awards $25,000 to the most outstanding book of poetry published in the previous year. The award will be presented at the fifth annual Poets Forum in New York City, October 20-22.
About Wright's winning book, judge Martha Ronk remarked:
"'Nothing is not integral.' This phrase near the end of C.D. Wright's One With Others characterizes both the book itself and a reader's immersion in it. Navigation between document and lyric forms the fabric of this passionate, funny, and elegiac book, a personal account of her mentor, 'V,' mad for T.S. Eliot and bourbon and cigarettes and justice, who, as the lone white woman, joins the protest walk led by 'Sweet Willie Wine' through towns in the Arkansas delta, 1969."
"Wright's graceful and startling ability to move seamlessly from the elegant to the down-to-earth, from racial history to the cost of a head of lettuce, and from her words to the words of others creates an all-encompassing world including both V's feisty heroism—'Just to act, was the glorious thing'—and 'the long-lingering olfaction of home, whether from the faint cut of walnuts spoiled in the grass or a sour work shirt on a rotted railing'. Wright describes V as a mind on fire; as readers we witness this throughout: 'Harry says, What we really want from our time on this planet, is that which is not this, we want the ethical this; we want to feel and transmit."
About poetry, Wright has remarked: "Poetry is a necessity of life. It is a function of poetry to locate those zones insides us that would be free, and declare them so."
C.D. Wright was born in Mountain Home, Arkansas in 1949. She is the author of numerous books of poems including Rising, Falling, Hovering (Copper Canyon Press, 2008), winner of the International Griffin Poetry Prize, Deepstep Come Shining (Copper Canyon Press, 1998), and One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana (Twin Palms, 2003) with photographs by Deborah Luster.
Wright's honors include fellowships from the MacArthur and Guggenheim Foundations. In 1994 she served as the Poet Laureate of the state of Rhode Island. One With Others was also the winner of this year's National Book Critics Circle Award, and a finalist for the National Book Award.
Mei-mei Berssenbrugge's latest collection of poems is I Love Artists: New and Selected Poems (University of California Press, 2006). She is also the author of Concordance (Kelsey Street Press, 2006), Nest (Kelsey Street Press, 2003), and Four Year Old Girl (Kelsey Street Press, 1998), among other books of poems. Her honors include two American Book Awards, an Asian American Literary Award, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. Currently she's on the contributing editorial board for the literary journal Conjunctions.
D.A. Powell is the author of Chronic (Graywolf Press, 2009), winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, Cocktails (Graywolf Press, 2004), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Lunch (Wesleyan University Press, 2000), and Tea (Wesleyan University Press, 1998). He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He currently teaches in the English department at The University of San Francisco.
Martha Ronk is the author of numerous books of poems including, Vertigo (Coffee House Press, 2007), winner of the National Poetry Series, In a Landscape of Having to Repeat (Omnidawn, 2004), and Why/Why Not (University of California Press, 2003). Her honors include a PEN/USA award in poetry, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, and residencies from the MacDowell Colony and Djerassi. She currently teaches at Occidental College in Los Angeles, California.
The Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize was established in 1975 by the New Hope Foundation in memory of Lenore Marshall (1897-1971), a poet, novelist, essayist, and political activist. Lenore Marshall was the author of three novels, three books of poetry, a collection of short stories, and selections from her notebooks. Her work also appeared in The New Yorker, The Saturday Review, Partisan Review, and other literary magazines. In 1956 she helped found the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy, the citizens' organization that lobbied successfully for passage of the 1963 partial nuclear test ban treaty.
The Academy of American Poets is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1934 to foster appreciation for contemporary poetry and to support American poets at all stages of their careers. For over three generations, the Academy has connected millions of people to great poetry through programs such as National Poetry Month, the largest literary celebration in the world; Poets.org, the most popular site about poetry on the web, presenting a wealth of great poems, audio recordings, poet biographies, essays, and interactive discussions about poetry; the Poetry Audio Archive, capturing the voices of contemporary American poets for generations to come; American Poet, a biannual literary journal; and our annual series of poetry readings and special events. The Academy also awards prizes to accomplished poets at all stages of their careers—from hundreds of student prizes at colleges nationwide to the Wallace Stevens Award for lifetime achievement in the art of poetry. For more information, visit www.poets.org.