The beauty of these poems is always married to a deep, implacable pang. Their consolation is always rooted in the unifying force of remembered loss.
Hampshire College poetry professor Aracelis Girmay has won a 2015 Whiting Award.
The Whiting Foundation gives the award annually to ten emerging writers in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and drama. The awards of $50,000 each are based on early accomplishment and the promise of great literary work to come.
Professor Girmay has published two poetry collections, Kingdom Animalia (2011) and Teeth (2007). Kingdom Animalia won the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
In announcing Girmay’s selection on March 5, the Whiting Awards judges said: “Her project seems to be our deep and ongoing subjectivity, our vulnerability to history, to one another, to desire, and to the belief in something large and lasting that we might belong to. There’s empathy, play, and fearlessness here, and both formal and emotional range. The beauty of these poems is always married to a deep, implacable pang. Their consolation is always rooted in the unifying force of remembered loss.”
Excerpts from the latest work of Girmay and the other winners are available on TheParisReview.org.
No submissions are accepted for the Whiting Awards. Nominators and judges are invited by the Foundation, and work anonymously. The pool of nominators changes annually, and has included writers, professors, editors, agents, critics, booksellers, artistic directors of theaters, dramaturgs, and directors of literary festivals. Winners are chosen by a small group of recognized writers, literary scholars, and editors who meet four times during the course of a year to debate the work and select the final ten.