Vanderbilt Prize Winner / Stanley Moss Dies – Poetry News Roundup July 10th

Today’s news round up looks at the winner of the Vanderbilt University Literary Prize and the death of Stanley Moss.

Vanderbilt University Literary Prize Awarded to Stephanie Niu

The first winner of Vanderbilt University’s Literary Prize has been announced as Stephanie Niu. Niu was selected by a group of judges and her winning collection of poems is “I Would Define the Sun,” which is a collection inspired by resisting scarcity via the medium of language.

The prize is a very new one that was  only begun earlier this year and is a celebration of the Sesquicentennial of the university. It is to be an annual award for an individual author who has completed a collection of poetry that shows a good degree of poignancy in combination with artistic vision, rigor in form and creative language. There were over 300 entries.

The prize means the winner will have their work published in electronic, audio and print within a publishing contract with the University’s Press. Further to this, the winner receives an invitation to take a reading at the Gertrude C and Harold S Vanderbilt reading series. Additionally, Niu will receive an honorarium worth $10,000 and will enjoy one week of on-campus residency

From Marietta, Georgia Niu is a chapbook author with several chapbook prizes to her name. She currently lives in New York City and whilst her background is in symbolic systems and computer science she has lead a number of poetry workshops for young people.

It has been planned the “I Would Define the Sun” will be published in February 2025, the residency will take place in the spring.

The judging panel for the prize was made up of writers, poets, editors and educators. In addition to selecting the winner they also selected two writers for honourable mentions, Wesley Rothman for “Wanted” and Samyak Shertok for “No Rhododendron”

Poet Stanley Moss Dies at 99

The poet Stanley Moss, who was also an art dealer and ran his own small publishing house has died at the age of 99. He was known for his somewhat meditative verse which took inspiration from animals, God, friendships, the incessant march of time and his Jewish heritage. He had been living in a rehabilitation centre since he suffered a cardiac event a couple of months ago.

During his lengthy career he wrote more than a dozen poetry books and his free-verse poetry style won him admiration amongst many of his peers including Stanley Kunitz and W.S. Merwin.

Although he found homes for many of his poems in newspapers and journals both in the US and England, he never really found fame further afield and he didn’t win any of the major poetry prizes either. Fellow poet John Ashbery once referred to him as  “American poetry’s best-kept secret.”

He travelled to countries like China, France, Italy and Israel and collected materials for his poems along the way, many of which took pride of place in his home. His poetry was often incredibly personal as well, and although he began writing poetry as a child he was in his early 40’s before his first book was published.

He funded his work with the founding of Sheep Meadow Press, publishing works by American poets and translated works by Federico Garcia Lorca and Hans Magnus Enzensberger. He also worked as an art dealer placing Spanish and Italian old masters in some of the big art museums around the world.


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