The Poetry Society of America is honored to announce that Monica Youn's collection of poetry Blackacre (Graywolf, 2016), is the recipient of the 2017 William Carlos Williams Award for a book of poetry published by a small press, non-profit, or university press in a standard edition.
This year's judge was the National Book Award winning poet Robin Coste Lewis.
Previous winners of this award include Jennifer Moxley, Ron Padgett, Bruce Smith, Mary Ruefle, Linda Gregg, Matthew Zapruder, Brenda Hillman and Li-Young Lee.
Robin Coste Lewis writes of Youn's collection:
Blackacre, a legal or contractual term that defines a hypothetical property—a property that exists in the physical world, but has yet to be identified, marked, claimed —a legal fiction—in Monica Youn's distinct and astute hands becomes a wholly unanticipated, exacting metaphor for the early 21st century American body. With surreal lyrical precision, Youn explores deftly those interior landscapes we are reluctant to excavate, not to mention name. Does the body construct history, or is the body history's passive repository—or both? Youn never shies away from these inquiries simply because they might prove unanswerable. Instead, these poems walk straight into this unmarked territory—this dark, unknown acre—with an unflinching, unapologetic verve all her own. Youn transforms English itself, a vast landscape of repressed histories, into a seemingly blackacre too, an unexplored site, where suddenly the fraught relationships between the body, time, and history are stunningly articulated simultaneously.
The 2017 Annual Awards ceremony to celebrate the winners of the Poetry Society of America's other annual awards will take place on Wednesday, March 29th, at 7:00pm at The National Arts Club in New York City.
The Poetry Society of America, the nation's oldest poetry organization, was founded in 1910 for the purpose of creating a public forum for the advancement, enjoyment, and understanding of poetry. Through a diverse array of programs, initiatives, contests, and awards, the PSA works to build a larger audience for poetry, to encourage a deeper appreciation of the art, and to place poetry at the crossroads of American life. The PSA's signature program is Poetry in Motion, featuring poems on transit systems across the country.