The T. S. Eliot Foundation and the Poetry Society of America are pleased to announce the winner of the inaugural Four Quartets Prize, awarded to a unified and complete sequence of poems published in America in a print or online journal, chapbook, or book in 2016 and/or 2017. The prize is $20,000.
The judges, Linda Gregerson, Ishion Hutchinson, and Jana Prikryl, have selected Danez Smith's poem "summer, somewhere," writing:
"Do you know what it's like to live / on land who loves you back?" In "summer, somewhere," Danez Smith imagines just such a land for the black boys who have died by violence in our time: the violence of vigilantism, of police brutality, of stigmatized poverty and illness, of despair. From a bitter landscape, this unblinking sequence manages to wrest a celebration of black lives, fusing metaphor and emotion in a transformative whole."
Danez Smith is the author of Don't Call Us Dead (Graywolf Press, 2017), a finalist for the National Book Award, and [insert] boy (YesYes Books, 2014), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award & the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. Danez is also the author of two chapbooks, hands on your knees (2013, Penmanship Books) and black movie (2015, Button Poetry), winner of the Button Poetry Prize. The recipient of fellowships from the Poetry Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts, Danez is a member of the Dark Noise Collective and co-host of VS with Franny Choi, a podcast sponsored by the Poetry Foundation and Postloudness.