Ellen Bryant Voigt Wins 2009 Poets' Prize
Ellen Bryant Voigt is the winner of the 2009 Poets' Prize of $3000. The prize is funded by and voted on by a committee of 22 American poets. Because of its complex nominating and voting procedures, the prize is awarded over a year after most other major awards are announced; this year books published in 2007 were eligible.
Voigt won for Messenger: Selected Poems 1976-2006
, published by W. W. Norton. In selecting Voigt's book, the prize committee considered over thirty books. The finalists were Marvin Bell for Mars Being Red
(Copper Canyon), Kelly Cherry for Hazard and Prospect
(LSU Press), and Mark Jarman for Epistles
Born in Virginia, Voigt was educated at Converse College and the University of Iowa. She has taught at M.I.T and Goddard College, and was the founder of the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers, where she has taught since 1981. She served as Poet Laureate of Vermont from 1999 to 2003. She is the author of seven collections of poetry and The Flexible Lyric
, a collection of critical essays. She currently resides in Cabot, Vermont.
The Poets' Prize was established in 1988 by Frederick Morgan, Robert McDowell, and Louis Simpson. The first winner was Julia Randall, and the most recent was A. E. Stallings. The motto of the Poets' Prize is "We believe that there is no greater honor than to be awarded a prize by a jury of one's peers."
The current chair of the Poets' Prize Committee, R. S. Gwynn, will preside at the award ceremony, which will take place at the Nicholas Roerich Museum at 319 West 107th Street in New York City at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 21, 2009. The event is free and open to the public and will include readings of poems by the honoree and finalists with a reception following. Copies of Messenger
will be available for purchase at the event.
The link below lists all past winners: