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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Good work and long suffering merit rewards

Library of Congress
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Washington DC 20540
March 4, 2014
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Poet Laureate Selects 2014 Witter Bynner Fellows,
Honorée Fanonne Jeffers and Jake Adam York
The 19th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress, Natasha
Trethewey, has selected poet Honorée Fanonne Jeffers as the recipient of a
Witter Bynner Fellowship and has named poet Jake Adam York posthumously as a
Trethewey will introduce a program celebrating the fellows at 6:30 p.m. on
Wednesday, March 26, in the Montpelier Room on the sixth floor of the James
Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave., S.E., Washington, D.C. 20540. The
event is free and open to the public. No tickets are needed.
Jeffers will read her poetry, and Trethewey will read the work of York, who died
in December 2012.
Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said, “These fellowships—to poets
whose distinctive talents and craftsmanship merit wider recognition—provide a
wonderful way for the Laureate, the Library and the [Witter Bynner] Foundation
to encourage poets and poetry.”
Commenting on her selections, Trethewey said Jeffers and York “are two American
poets whose work deserves a wider audience.”
Jeffers will receive a $10,000 fellowship. This is the 17th year that the
fellowship has been awarded.
Jeffers is the author of three books of poems, including “Red Clay Suite”
(2007), “Outlandish Blues” (2003) and “The Gospel of Barbecue”(2000). Her
other honors include the 1999 Stan and Tom Wick Prize for Poetry for her first
book and the 2002 Julia Peterkin Award for Poetry, as well as awards from the
Barbara Deming Memorial Fund and the Rona Jaffe Foundation and fellowships from
the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Antiquarian Society, the
MacDowell Colony and the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. A founding member of
Cave Canem, the writer’s colony for African-American poets, Jeffers teaches at
the University of Oklahoma, where she is associate professor of English and
creative-writing coordinator.
York was the author of four books of poems, including his forthcoming book
“Abide” (2014), as well as “Persons Unknown” (2010), “A Murmuration of
Starlings” (2008) and “Murder Ballads” (2005). He also published a book of
literary history, “The Architecture of Address: The Monument and Public Speech
in American Poetry” (2005). A recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts
Creative Writing Fellowship in poetry, York also received the 2005 Elixir Prize
in Poetry for his first book, the 2008 Colorado Book Award in Poetry for his
second book, and the 2010 Third Coast Poetry Prize for his poem“Before Knowing
Remembers.” Founder of the online literary journal storySouth, as well as the
online journal Thicket, York was a contributing editor for the literary journal
The Witter Bynner fellowships support the writing of poetry. Only two things
are asked of the fellows: that they organize a reading in their hometowns and
participate in reading and recording sessions at the Library of Congress.
Applications are not taken for the fellowships; the Poet Laureate makes the
The Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry was incorporated in 1972 in New Mexico
to provide grant support for programs through non-profit organizations. Witter
Bynner was an influential early-20th century poet and translator of the Chinese
Classic “Tao Te Ching,” which he named “The Way of Life According to Laotzu.” He
travelled with D.H. Lawrence and Frieda Lawrence and proposed to Edna St.
Vincent Millay (she accepted, but then they changed their minds). He worked at
McClure’s Magazine, where he published A.E. Housman for the first time in the
United States, and was one of O. Henry’s early fans.
Previous Witter Bynner fellows include Carol Muske-Dukes and Carl Phillips
(1998), David Gewanter, Heather McHugh and Campbell McGrath (1999), and Naomi
Shihab Nye and Joshua Weiner (2000), all appointed by Robert Pinsky; the late
Tory Dent and Nick Flynn (2001), appointed by Stanley Kunitz; George Bilgere and
Katia Kapovich (2002), and Major Jackson and Rebecca Wee (2003), appointed by
Billy Collins; Dana Levin and Spencer Reece (2004), appointed by Louise Gluck;
Claudia Emerson and Martin Walls (2005), and Joseph Stroud and Connie Wanek
(2006), appointed by Ted Kooser; Laurie Lamon and David Tucker (2007), appointed
by Donald Hall; Matthew Thorburn and Monica Youn (2008), appointed by Charles
Simic; and Christina Davis and Mary Szybist (2009) and Jill McDonough and Atsuro
Riley (2010), appointed by Kay Ryan; Forrest Gander and Robert Bringhurst
(2011), appointed by W.S. Merwin; L. S. Asekoff and Sheila Black (2012)
appointed by Philip Levine; and Sharon Dolin and Shara McCallum (2013) appointed
by Natasha Trethewey during her first term.
The Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress fosters and enhances
the public’s appreciation of literature. The center administers the endowed
poetry chair (the U.S. Poet Laureate), and coordinates an annual literary season
of poetry, fiction and drama readings, performances, lectures and symposia,
sponsored by the Library’s Gertrude Clarke Whittall Poetry and Literature Fund
and the Huntington Fund. For more information, visit<!OHL%3d8%2b62&RE=MC&RI=4441818&Preview=False&DistributionActionID=33335&Action=Follow+Link>.
The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and
the largest library in the world, holds more than 158 million items in various
languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and
the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its
award-winning website at<!OHL%3d8%2b62&RE=MC&RI=4441818&Preview=False&DistributionActionID=33334&Action=Follow+Link>.

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