Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships

The Poetry Foundation and Poetry magazine are pleased to announce the five recipients of the 2014 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships: Hannah Gamble, Solmaz Sharif, Danez Smith, Ocean Vuong and Wendy Xu. Among the largest awards offered to aspiring poets in the United States, the $25,800 scholarship prize is intended to encourage the further study and writing of poetry and is open to all U.S. poets between 21 and 31 years of age.

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. In 2013, the Poetry Foundation received a generous gift from the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Memorial Fund to create the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships, which increased the fellowship amount from $15,000 to $25,800.

Hannah Gamble is sending out her second book of poems. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in American Poetry Review, The Believer, Poetry, Court Green and Rattle. She lives in Chicago, where she is an artist-in-residence at the Museum of Science and Industry, and has recently completed a screenplay about a Midwestern community college that offers an associate’s degree in not getting raped.

Born in Istanbul, Turkey, to Iranian parents, Solmaz Sharif holds degrees from the University of California–Berkeley, where she studied and taught with June Jordan’s Poetry for the People, and New York University. Her first published poem, included in A World Between: Poems, Short Stories, and Essays by Iranian-Americans (George Braziller, 1999), was written at the age of 13. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry, the Kenyon Review, jubilat, Gulf Coast, Boston ReviewWitness and other publications. The former managing director of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Sharif has had her work recognized with a “Discovery”/Boston Review Poetry Prize, scholarships from NYU and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and a fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Mass. Most recently, she was awarded an NEA fellowship and a Stegner Fellowship. She is currently a Jones Lecturer at Stanford University.

Danez Smith is the author of [insert] Boy (YesYes Books, forthcoming) and the chapbook hands on ya knees (Penmanship Books, 2013). Smith is the recipient of fellowships from the McKnight Foundation, Cave Canem, VONA (Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation) and elsewhere. He is a founding member of the multigenre, multicultural Dark Noise Collective. His writing has appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, Beloit Poetry Journal, Kinfolks and elsewhere. In poetry slam, he is a 2011 Individual World Poetry Slam finalist and the reigning two-time Rustbelt Individual Champion, and was on the 2014 championship team Sad Boy Supper Club. In 2014 he was the festival director for the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam. He holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he was a First Wave Urban Arts Scholar, and was born in St. Paul, Minn.

Ocean Vuong has received honors from Kundiman, Poets House, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation (Italy), the Elizabeth George Foundation and the Academy of American Poets as well as a 2014 Pushcart Prize. His poems have appeared in Poetry, The Nation, Boston Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Guernica, TriQuarterly and American Poetry Review, which awarded him the 2012 Stanley Kunitz Prize for Younger Poets. Born in Saigon, Vietnam, he lives in Queens, N.Y.

Wendy Xu was born in Shandong, China, in 1987. She earned a BA from the University of Iowa and an MFA from the University of Massachusetts–Amherst. Her debut collection, You Are Not Dead, was published in 2013 by the Cleveland State University Poetry Center, and her writing has appeared in The Best American Poetry, Hyperallergic, Gulf Coast, Denver Quarterly and elsewhere. Xu lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

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About the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg 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. In 2013, the Poetry Foundation received a generous gift from the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Memorial Fund to create the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships, which increased the fellowship amount from $15,000 to $25,800.

About Poetry Magazine
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. In 2011, the magazine was honored with two National Magazine Awards. It celebrated its centennial in 2012.

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 partnerships, prizes, and programs. Opened to the public in June 2011, the Poetry Foundation building in Chicago provides new space for the Foundation’s extensive roster of public programs and events. It also houses a public garden, a library, and an exhibition gallery as well as the offices of the Poetry Foundation and Poetry magazine.

Learn more about the foundation »

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Past Prize Recipients

2007
Sean Brian Bishop
Megan Grumbling

2006
Colin Cheney
David Krump

2004
Nathan Bartel
Emily Moore

2002
Emily Rosko
Marc Bittner

1998
Christine Stewart
Robin Cooper-Stone

1996
Erin G. Brooks
Zarina Mullan Plath

1995
Matt D. Collinsworth

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