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The Pulitzer Prize Winners in Poetry from 2010 - 2020

The Pulitzer Prize Winners in Poetry from 2010 - 2020

The Pulitzer Prize for Poetry is one of the seven American Pulitzer Prizes awarded annually for Letters, Drama, and Music. It first presented in 1922 for a distinguished volume of original verse by an American author, published during the preceding calendar year. Finalists have been announced since 1980, ordinarily two others beside the winner


Inseminating the Elephant

2009 | Lucia Maria Perillo

"Perillo's poetic persona is funny, tough, bold, smart, and righteous. A spellbinding storyteller and a poet who makes the demands of the form seem as natural as a handshake, she pulls readers into the beat and whirl of her slyly devastating descriptions and observations before they can catch their breath...The fluid grace of Perillo's irresistible lines belies the tension inherent in their outlook, the resistance to easy emotion and obvious sentiment, the rejection of self-pity in favor of flinty humor and rigor. Sheer, shivery pleasure to read, Perillo's poems have extensive appeal."—Donna Seaman, Booklist "Perillo's time as a wildlife researcher gives her insight into the workings of a turtle's heart and blackbird behavior, while other topics range from Viagra and video games to Transcendentalism... These poems are tough and witty."—The New Yorker “Lucia Perillo's poems cannot be ignored or forgotten... In imagery as startlingly original as Anne Sexton's and in philosophical tone as harsh and courageous as Adrienne Rich's, Perillo creates poems of great energy and power.”—Choice "Perillo is never uninteresting."—Publishers Weekly, starred review "Whoever told you poetry isn't for everyone hasn't read Lucia Perillo. She writes accessible, often funny poems that border on the profane... Perillo is always after something deeper than mere self-deprecation: if not transcendence, then a kind of knowledge that only comes the hard way... f you're seeking levity in the face of life's hardships, Perillo's poems can show you how to find it."—Time Out New York Lucia Perillo's hard-edged yet vulnerable poems attempt to reconcile the comic impulse—the humorous deflection of anxiety—with the complications and tragedies of living in a mortal, fragile “meat cage.” Perillo's surgical honesty—and biting, nourishing humor—chronicle human failings, sexuality, and the collision of nature with the manufactured world. Whether recalling her former career as a naturalist experimenting on white rats or watching birds from her wheelchair, she draws the reader into unforgettable places rich in image and story. Don't look up, because the ceiling is suffering some serious violations of the electrical code, the whole chaotic kelplike mess about to shower us with flames . . . Here, take a seat on these rickety risers inside my head, though your life isn't mine, still, I have hope for your hearing the gist of this refrain about how glad he is that he's not dead. MacArthur Fellow Lucia Perillo is the author of four books of poetry that have won the Norma Farber First Book Award, the Kate Tufts Prize, the Balcones Prize, and the Kingsley Tufts Award. Her critically acclaimed memoir, I've Heard the Vultures Singing: Field Notes on Poetry, Illness, and Nature, was published in 2007.


Break the Glass

2010 | Jean Valentine

"[Jean Valentine's] poems are a rare pleasure: serious and graceful, never glib, testimony to the strength and beauty of the lyric as a music of words, not ideas. As elliptical and demanding as Emily Dickinson, Valentine consistently rewards the reader."—Library Journal In her eleventh collection, National Book Award–winning poet Jean Valentine characteristically weds a moral imperative to imaginative and linguistic leaps and bounds. Whether writing elegies, meditations on aging, or an extended homage to ancient remains, Valentine searches out ideas and explores the unexplainable. As Adrienne Rich has said of Valentine's work, "This is a poetry of the highest order, because it lets us into spaces and meanings we couldn't approach in any other way." From "If a Person Visits Someone in a Dream, in Some Cultures the Dreamer Thanks Them": At a hotel in another star. The rooms were cold and damp, we were both at the desk at midnight asking if they had any heaters. They had one heater. You are ill, please you take it. Thank you for visiting my dream. * Can you breathe all right? Break the glass shout break the glass force the room break the thread Open the music behind the glass . . . Jean Valentine is the state poet of New York. She has earned many honors, including the National Book Award, the Wallace Stevens Award, and the Shelley Memorial Prize. She has taught at Sarah Lawrence College, New York University, and Columbia University. She lives in New York City.

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