Poetry News

PEN America Awards Announced, Rowan Ricardo Phillips Wins in Poetry

By Harriet Staff


The 2013 winners are in! And this year Rowan Ricardo Phillips takes home the Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry, while Tomás Q. Morín is the runner up. A little about the award:

The PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry of $5,000 is given in odd-numbered years and recognizes the high literary character of the published work to date of a new and emerging American poet of any age and the promise of further literary achievement. Past winners have been Nick Flynn, Richard Matthews, Dana Levin, and Yerra Sugarman.

This year's judges for the award were Henri Cole, Dorianne Laux, and Robert Wrigley, who said these kind words about Phillips's writing:

Rowan Ricardo Phillips (“that’s an Old Norse first name,/ A Spanish middle name,/ And one of those faux-English-faux-Dutch-sounding last names”) can be sweetly Whitmanesque in his poems, or gravely meditative, or lushly lyrical. In other words, he is a poet capable of voices—plural. Every poem in The Ground surprises the reader with its vivid images and rhythms, or its fully present, personal voice, or its lightning-bolt sincerity. And while there is often a hidden tragedy at the center of his poems, there is also great pleasure taken in the idea of survival during a time of chaos.

And of Morín:

The judges are thrilled to recognize emerging poet Tomás Q. Morín as the runner-up for this year’s PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award of Poetry. Morín's A Larger Country is an elegant first book by this promising new poet. The elegiac voice, the expert use of poetic structure (and near-structure)--as in the "North Farm" sonnet sequence--and the emotional authenticity throughout make this a memorable and electrifying debut.

Go here to read about award winners in the other categories. Congrats!

Originally Published: August 15th, 2013