New York, NY (March 25, 2019)—The Academy of American Poets is pleased to announce that Li-Young Lee has selected Leah Naomi Green as the recipient of the 2019 Walt Whitman Award, the nation’s most valuable first-book prize for a poet, for her manuscript, The More Extravagant Feast, which will be published by Graywolf Press in April 2020.
In addition to publication Green will receive a six-week all-expenses-paid residency at the Civitella Ranieri Center in Umbria, Italy, as well as $5,000. The Academy of American Poets will also 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. In addition, she will be featured on Poets.org and in American Poets magazine.
The 2018 Walt Whitman Award-winning book, BRUTE, by Emily Skaja will be published by Graywolf Press on April 2, 2019.
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, Mai Der Vang, Jenny Xie, and current Academy of American Poets Chancellor Alberto Ríos.
About The More Extravagant Feast, 2019 Walt Whitman Award judge Li-Young Lee says: “This book keeps faithful company with the world and earns its name. The darkness and suffering of living on earth are assumed in this work, woven throughout the fabric of its lineated perceptions and insights, and yet it is ultimately informed by the deep logic of compassion (is there a deeper human logic?) and enacts the wisdom of desire and fecundity reconciled with knowledge of death and boundedness. These poems remind us that when language is used to mediate between a soul's inner contents and the outer world's over-abundance of being and competing meanings, it's possible to both transcend the nihilism of word games, thereby discovering a more meaningful destiny for language, as well as reveal the body of splendor which is Existence.”
Leah Naomi Green received an MFA from the University of California, Irvine. She is the author of The Ones We Have, which received the 2012 Flying Trout Chapbook Prize. Green is an associate editor of Shenandoah, and her poems have appeared in Tin House, The Southern Review, Ecotone, and Pleiades. She teaches at Washington and Lee University and lives in the Shenandoah Mountains where she homesteads with her husband and daughters.
About Li-Young Lee
Li-Young Lee received the 1990 Lamont Poetry Selection (now the James Laughlin Award) for his second collection The City in Which I Love You (BOA Editions, 1990) and the 2003 Academy of American Poets Fellowship for distinguished poetic achievement. In 1986, Lee published his first collection Rose (BOA Editions). He is also the author of The Undressing (W. W. Norton, 2018); Behind My Eyes (W. W. Norton, 2008); Book of My Nights (BOA Editions, 2001), which won the 2002 William Carlos Williams Award; Breaking the Alabaster Jar: Conversations with Li-Young Lee (Edited by Earl G. Ingersoll, BOA Editions, 2006), a collection of twelve interviews with Lee at various stages of his artistic development; and The Winged Seed: A Remembrance (Simon and Schuster, 1995), a memoir which received an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.
About the Academy of American Poets
The Academy of American Poets is the nation’s leading champion of poets, poetry, and the work of poetry organizations nationwide. Founded in 1934, the organization, fueled by contributions from members in all 50 states, produces Poets.org, the world’s largest publicly funded website for poets and poetry; originated and organizes National Poetry Month each April; publishes the popular Poem-a-Day series and American Poets magazine; offers Teach This Poem and other free award-winning resources for K-12 educators; and an annual series of poetry readings and special events. In addition, the Academy of American Poets coordinates a national poetry coalition working together to promote the value poets bring to our culture and the important contribution poetry makes in the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds.
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 civitella.org.
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 graywolfpress.org.