For Immediate Release

2009 Ruth Lilly Fellowship Winners Announced

$75,000 in prizes awarded to five young poets
July 28th, 2009

CHICAGO — The Poetry Foundation and Poetry magazine are proud to announce the five recipients of the 2009 Ruth Lilly Fellowships: Malachi Black, Eric Ekstrand, Chloë Honum, Jeffrey Schultz, and Joseph Spece. 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 editors of Poetry magazine selected the winning manuscripts from over 550 applications. In announcing the winners, Poetry editor Christian Wiman remarked, “2009 marks the 20th anniversary of the Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowships, and the quality of work the program attracts is more impressive every year. Being able to recognize and support five such talented young poets is a real pleasure, surpassed only by reading their work.”

Malachi Black was born in 1982 in Boston, Massachusetts, and raised in Morris County, New Jersey. He earned his BA in literature from New York University in 2004. His work recently appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry, the Iowa Review, the Southwest Review, Best New Poets 2008, AGNI Online, Pleiades, and elsewhere. He is literary editor of the New York Quarterly and a James A. Michener Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin’s Michener Center for Writers.

Eric Ekstrand was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in 1984. He received a BA in English literature from Wake Forest University in 2007, and is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Houston. He is a poetry editor for Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts, and helped to organize the first annual boldface Writers Conference. His poems have appeared in the Black Warrior Review, the Indiana Review, New South, and Poetry. His reviews and interviews have appeared in Gulf Coast.

Chloë Honum was born in California in 1981 and grew up in Auckland, New Zealand. In 2003 she received her BA, with an emphasis in creative writing, from Sarah Lawrence College. Her poetry has appeared in Best New Poets 2008, Nimrod, and Shenandoah, and is forthcoming in AGNI, the Bellingham Review, the Paris Review, and elsewhere. She is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Arkansas, where she directs the Writers in the Schools program.

Jeffrey Schultz was born in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1979 and raised in Fresno, California. He earned a BA in English from California State University, Fresno, in 2001 and an MFA from the University of Oregon’s Creative Writing Program in 2003. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the Boston Review, Poetry, Poetry Northwest, and elsewhere, and have been featured on Poetry Daily and the PBS NewsHour’s Art Beat blog. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and teaches at Pepperdine University in Malibu.

Joseph Spece was born in Long Island, New York, in 1981 and split his youth between Long Island and Massachusetts. He received BA degrees in English and philosophy from Boston College in 2005, and an MFA from Columbia University in 2009.

These five emerging voices will be featured in Poetry magazine’s November issue, and on

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 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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