PRESS ROOM: Poetry Foundation Makes History by Honoring 2022 Pegasus Laureates
CHICAGO —The Poetry Foundation is proud to announce the winners of the 2022 Pegasus Awards, a family of literary prizes that includes the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Young People’s Poet Laureate, and the Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism. Winners will be honored at an awards ceremony in Chicago in October.
In recognition of Poetry magazine’s 110th anniversary, the Poetry Foundation has decided to award 10 additional Ruth Lilly Poetry Prizes this year, which will result in $1,132,500 in prizes distributed to 2022 winners. This is the most great prize the Foundation has ever given to a cohort of living poets at any given time.
“We are celebrating 110 years of Poetry magazine this year and approaching 20 years of the Poetry Foundation in 2023. We wanted to do something special to mark these milestones by honoring an exceptional cohort of writers whose work has brought comfort and inspiration to so many,” said Poetry Foundation President Michelle T. Boone. “Poetry shows us the way forward, and there is no poetry without the imagination and talent of those behind the pen.”
Honor 11 living legends
The Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize is awarded annually to a living American poet with a $100,000 prize in recognition of outstanding life’s work; it is one of the most prestigious awards given to American poets and one of the country’s top literary prizes.
In honor of the 110th anniversary of Poetry and in line with goals announced in its new strategic plan, the Poetry Foundation is awarding 11 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prizes in 2022. The decision not only commemorates a historic milestone for the Foundation and the magazine, but celebrates a diversity of backgrounds and styles of poets. whose contributions to culture warrant the same recognition given to artists in other forms.
The 11 winners of the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for 2022 are:
Sandra Cisneros is a poet, short story writer, novelist and essayist whose work explores working class life. The novel of Cisneros The Mango Street House has been translated into over 25 languages and is required reading in elementary, secondary and college schools across the country. His awards include a MacArthur Fellowship, a National Medal of Arts, and a PEN/Nabokov Prize for International Literature, among others. the new collection of poetry by Cisneros, woman without shameis published by Knopf and Vintage Español in a Spanish translation.
CAConrad has been working with ancient technologies of poetry and ritual since 1975; their honors include a Lambda Literary Award. As young poets, they lived in Philadelphia, where they lost many loved ones during the early years of the AIDS crisis, as evidenced in the essay “SIN BUG: AIDS, Poetry, and Queer Resilience in Philadelphia” . Conrad is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including AMANDA PARADISE: Resurrecting the Dead Vibration and Queuing for death.
Dove Rita is a writer of poetry, fiction, drama, and essays who was the United States Poet Laureate from 1993 to 1995. Dove’s honors include an NAACP Image Award, a National Medal of Arts, and a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, among others. His last volume of poems, Reading list for the apocalypse, was named “Top Book of 2021” by The New York Times. Dove teaches at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she holds the Henry Hoyns Chair in Creative Writing.
Nikki Giovanni is a poet and the author of several works of non-fiction and children’s literature, and several recordings, including the Emmy Award nominee The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection. Giovanni’s honors include a Langston Hughes Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Arts and Letters, seven NAACP Image Awards, and a Rosa Parks Women of Courage Award. His recent publications include Make Me Rain: Poems and Prose and In pursuit of utopia: a hybrid.
Juan Felipe Herrera is a poet and the son of agricultural workers; he was Poet Laureate of the United States and of California. Herrera’s awards include a National Book Critics Circle Award, a Los Angeles Times Robert Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award and a Latino Hall of Fame Award, among others. He is the author of more than 30 books, including the recent collection of poetry Every day we get more illegal and the translation Akrílica. Juan Felipe Herrera Elementary School is scheduled to open in Fresno in the fall of 2022.
Angela Jackson is a poet, playwright, and novelist from Chicago who is currently Poet Laureate of Illinois. Jackson’s honors include a Pushcart Award and a Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. His collection of poetry, All these roads be brightwas nominated for the National Book Award, and her first novel, where i have to go, won an American Book Award. Additionally, Jackson wrote four plays: comforting stew, Witness!, Shango Diaspora: an African-American myth of femininity and love.
Haki Madhubuti is a poet, author, publisher and educator. Madhubuti is widely considered one of the architects of the Black Arts Movement and is the founder and publisher of Chicago’s Third World Press. Madhubuti has published over 36 books, including his recent collection, Taught By Women: Poems as Language of Resistance, New and Selected. His honors include an American Book Award, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Prize, and a Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award, among others.
Sharon Olds is the author of 12 collections of poetry, including tunesshortlisted for the 2020 Griffin Poetry Prize, and The deer leap, winner of a Pulitzer Prize and a TS Eliot Prize. Olds’ other accolades include the inaugural San Francisco Poetry Center Award and a National Book Critics Circle Award. She teaches in New York University’s Graduate Creative Writing Program and helped found the NYU workshop program for residents of Coler-Goldwater Hospital on Roosevelt Island.
Sonia Sanchez is a poet, playwright, teacher, activist and one of the main leaders of the Black Studies movement. Sanchez is the author of more than 20 books, including morning haiku, Shake my skinand she collected poems, published in 2021. His accolades include an American Book Award, Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement Award, Langston Hughes Poetry Award, and Robert Frost Medal, among others; in 2011, she was named Philadelphia’s first Poet Laureate.
Patti Smith was born in Chicago, grew up in South Jersey, and moved to New York in 1967. Smith’s nonfiction and poetry books include Year of the Monkey, Dedicationand M-train; his new collection, A book of days, is to come. Her honors include the 2010 National Book Award for her best-selling memoir just childrena PEN/Audible Literary Service Award and a Doctor of Humane Letters from Columbia University.
Arthur Sze is a poet, translator and editor; he is the author of 11 poems, including The Constellation of Glass: New and Collected Poems and Lines of sight, which won a National Book Award for Poetry. Sze’s honors include a Shelley Memorial Award, Jackson Poetry Prize, and Lannan Literary Award, among others. He served as Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2012 to 2017 and was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017. He is Emeritus Professor at the Institute of American Indian Arts.
Recent winners of the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize include Marilyn Chin, Martín Espada, Joy Harjo, Marilyn Nelson and Patricia Smith.
Elizabeth Acevedo Named New Youth Poet Laureate
Elizabeth Acevedobestselling author of The poet X, will be the 2022-2024 Youth Poet Laureate. The prize and $25,000 prize is awarded to a living writer in recognition of a career devoted to writing outstanding poetry for young readers. The winner’s goal is to promote poetry to children and their families, teachers and librarians throughout their two-year tenure.
Acevedo’s second book, With the fire abovewas named “Best Book of the Year” by the New York Public Library, NPR, Weekly editorsand School library journal. Other honors include a boston globe-Horn Book Award, a National Book Award for children’s literature and a National Poetry Slam Championship. She will advise the Poetry Foundation on issues relating to children’s literature.
Recent youth poet laureates include Naomi Shihab Nye (whose tenure was extended due to hiatuses during the Covid-19 pandemic), Margarita Engle and Jacqueline Woodson.
Kevin Quashie Wins Pegasus Prize for Poetry Criticism
The Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism recognizes annually a work of criticism of a book published in the previous calendar year and includes a prize of $7,500. Kevin Quashie is the 2022 winner for his book Black life or a poetics of beingwhich draws on black feminist literary texts, including the works of poets Lucille Clifton, Audre Lorde and June Jordan.
Quashie teaches black cultural and literary studies and is a professor in the English department at Brown University. Among his honors are a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities and a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, as well as citations for teaching excellence from Brown University and Smith College.
The 2022 Critics’ finalists were Anahid Nersessian for The Odes of Keats: A Lover’s Speech (The University of Chicago Press) and Rachel Zolf for No The witness of oneself: a monstrous poetics (Duke University Press).
About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation recognizes the power of words to transform lives. We work to amplify poetry and celebrate poets by fostering spaces for all to create, experience and share poetry. Follow the Poetry Foundation on Facebook, instagramand Twitterand Poetry to @PoetryMagazine.