Poetry News

Charles Wright Awarded 2013 Bollingen Poetry Prize

By Harriet Staff


Congratulations are due to Charles Wright for winning the 2013 Bollingen Poetry Prize. Wright enters an elite pantheon of past winners that includes Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore, and more recently Adrienne Rich, Jay Wright, and Susan Howe. As YaleNews reports:

The Bollingen Prize in American Poetry is among the most prestigious prizes given to American writers. Established by Paul Mellon in 1949, it is awarded biennially by the Yale University Library to an American poet for the best book published during the previous two years or for lifetime achievement in poetry. The prize includes a cash award of $150,000.

“A poet of remarkable scope and ambition, Wright’s lyrics are like verbal scroll paintings, considering a vast landscape but exploring every aspect in exquisite detail, a stylistic combination that properly figures both the significance and insignificance of the human,” noted the three-member judging committee. “In poems that render the poignancy of moving time, the constancy of the landscape, and the mystery of the invisible, Wright binds the secular and the sacred in language charged with urgency and grace.”

The judges awarded Wright the Bollingen Prize for his 2011 book, “Bye-and-Bye: Selected Late Poems,” describing it as “an extended meditation in which we sense ‘splinters of the divine’ in the phenomena and cyclic changes of the natural world, and in the elusive reaches of memory, myth, and history.

The article goes on to say "On learning he had been awarded the Bollingen Prize, Wright responded that he was delighted: 'I always fantasized about winning the Bollingen Prize because it's the only prize Pound ever won.'" Read more about this year's prize here, and go here for a list of past recipients.

Originally Published: January 24th, 2013