For Immediate Release

2008 Ruth Lilly Fellowship Winners Announced

$75,000 in prizes awarded to five young poets
September 2nd, 2008

Chicago—The Poetry Foundation and Poetry magazine are proud to announce the five recipients of the 2008 Ruth Lilly Fellowships: Nicky Beer, Roger Reeves, Michael Rutherglen, Alison Stine, and Caki Wilkinson. Among the largest awards offered to aspiring poets in the United States, each Lilly Fellowship carries a $15,000 scholarship prize for fellows to use as they wish in continued study and writing of poetry.

The Ruth Lilly Fellowship program has dramatically expanded. From 1989 to 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 became open to all U.S. poets between 21 and 31 years of age, and the number of fellowships increased to five, totaling $75,000. Over 860 young poets submitted ten double-spaced pages of poems and a short essay describing how the fellowship would aid their work.

The editors of Poetry magazine selected the winning manuscripts. In announcing the winners, Christian Wiman remarked, “This year’s competition was the most intense to date. The pool of applications, by far the most we’ve ever received, represented an overwhelming amount of talent. The expansion of the fellowships allowed us to recognize five young poets whose work already impresses, and promises more to come.”

Nicky Beer was born in 1976 and grew up in Northport, New York. She graduated from Yale University in 1998 with a BA in Sociology, earned an MFA in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Houston, and a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Her awards include a NEA Literature Fellowship and a Discovery/The Nation Award. Her poems have appeared in Best American Poetry 2007, AGNI, the Kenyon Review, The Nation, and others. She is currently a visiting poet at Murray State University.

Roger Reeves was born in Willingboro, in 1980, and grew up in Mount Holly, New Jersey. After attending Princeton University, he completed his BA in English at Morehouse College in 2003, graduating Magna Cum Laude. He received an MA in English with a certificate in Women’s Studies from Texas A&M University. His awards include Cave Canem fellowships and an Alberta H. Walker Scholarship to the Provincetown Fine Arts Center. His poems have appeared in Gulf Coast and Verse Daily. He is an MFA candidate at the University of Texas James Michener Center.

Michael Rutherglen was born in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1983. He received a BA with Highest Distinction in English Literature from the University of Virginia in 2006, and an MFA in Poetry in 2008 from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was awarded a Maytag Fellowship and a Teaching-Writing fellowship. His poems have appeared in Ins&Outs, Mid-American Review and the Colorado Review, others are forthcoming from Prairie Schooner and Agni Online, and one has been featured on Poetry Daily. He works as a book designer in Oakland, California.

Alison Stine was born in Indiana in 1978, and grew up in Georgia and Ohio. Her first book, Ohio Violence, winner of the 2008 Vassar Miller Prize, will appear next spring; her chapbook, Lot of My Sister, won the 2000 Wick Prize. Her stories, essays, and poems have been published in Poetry, the Paris Review, the Kenyon Review, Tin House, and many others. Her plays and musicals have been widely produced, and her awards include a Wallace Stegner Fellowship. She teaches at Fordham University, and at the Reynolds Young Writers’ Workshop at Denison University.

Caki Wilkinson was born in Murfreesboro, Tennessee in 1980. She is a graduate of Rhodes College, where she received a BA in English and Creative Writing with Phi Beta Kappa honors, and Johns Hopkins University, where she earned her MFA. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the Atlantic Monthly, Black Warrior Review, Southwest Review, and elsewhere; her poem “Bower Bird” won first prize in the 2007 Atlantic Monthly Student Writing Contest. She is a PhD candidate at the University of Cincinnati.

These five emerging voices will be featured in forthcoming issues of Poetry magazine, in Poetry podcasts, and on

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


About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine and one of the largest literary organizations in the world, 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

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