For Immediate Release

2011 Ruth Lilly Fellowship Winners Announced

Among the largest awards offered to aspiring poets in the United States, the $15,000 scholarship prize is intended to encourage the further study and writing of poetry.

September 1, 2011

CHICAGO — The Poetry Foundation and Poetry magazine are pleased to announce the five recipients of 2011 Ruth Lilly Fellowships: Olivia Clare, T. Zachary Cotler, Farnoosh Fathi, Alison Seay, and Marcus Wicker. Among the largest awards offered to aspiring poets in the United States, the $15,000 scholarship prize is intended to encourage the further study and writing of poetry.

The editors of Poetry magazine selected the winning manuscripts from more than 1,000 submissions. In announcing the winners, Poetry senior editor Don Share said, “Each year the competition grows larger—and stronger. We’re extremely pleased that the 2011 Ruth Lilly Fellowships will recognize this diverse and talented group of younger poets.” Editor Christian Wiman added, “The subjects and aesthetics of these writers are as various as their backgrounds, but there are two qualities they all share: excellence and promise. You’ll be hearing a lot from these writers in the years to come.”

Olivia Clare was born in New York and raised in Louisiana. She received a BA from UC Berkeley and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her work has appeared in Southern Review, London Magazine, Poetry, FIELD, and other journals. 

T. Zachary Cotler was born in Passaic, New Jersey, in 1981. He received a BA from Cornell University and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His first collection of poems is House with a Dark Sky Roof (2011), and he has just completed the novel Ghost at the Loom. His poems have appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, Narrative, and elsewhere. He is a founding editor of The Winter Anthology

Farnoosh Fathi was born in 1981 in Lafayette, Louisiana, to Iranian parents and raised in California. She has a master’s degree from New York University and a PhD in creative writing and literature from the University of Houston. Her poems, translations, and prose have appeared in Tin House, Boston Review, Fence, Circumference, Jacket2, The Brooklyn Rail, and elsewhere.

Allison Seay was born in Richmond, Virginia, in 1980. She earned a BA from Mary Washington College (now University of Mary Washington) and an MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she later worked as assistant director of the MFA program and associate editor of The Greensboro Review. Her writing has been published in such journals as The Southern Review and Pleiades, among others.

Marcus Wicker was born in 1984 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He received a BA from Western Michigan University and an MFA from Indiana University. A recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem and the Fine Arts Work Center, he has published poems in Poetry, Beloit, Crab Orchard Review, and elsewhere.

These five emerging voices will be featured in Poetry magazine’s November issue and on www.poetryfoundation.org.

The Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship program is organized and administered by the Poetry Foundation in Chicago, publisher of Poetry magazine.

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About the Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship Program
Established in 1989 by Ruth Lilly to encourage the further writing and study of poetry, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship program has dramatically expanded since its inception. Until 1995, university writing programs nationwide each nominated one student poet for a single fellowship; from 1996 until 2007, two fellowships were awarded. In 2008 the competition was opened to all U.S. poets between 21 and 31 years of age, and the number of fellowships increased to five, totaling $75,000.

About Poetry
Founded in Chicago by Harriet Monroe in 1912, Poetry is the oldest monthly devoted to verse in the English-speaking world. Monroe’s “Open Door” policy, set forth in Volume 1 of the magazine, remains the most succinct statement of Poetry’s mission: to print the best poetry written today, in whatever style, genre, or approach. The magazine established its reputation early by publishing the first important poems of T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, H.D., William Carlos Williams, Carl Sandburg, and other now-classic authors. In succeeding decades it has presented—often for the first time—works by virtually every major contemporary poet.

About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs. For more information, please visit www.poetryfoundation.org.

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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