This week, on My Poetic Side, we go over the National Book Award winner for 2022, the Baillie Gifford Prize winner, and cover the Poetry Foundation’s Pegasus Awards.
National Book Award for Poetry Winner 2022
“Punks: New & Selected Poems” by John Keene has been named the winner of this year’s National Book Award for Poetry.
The award ceremony for the 73rd National Book Awards Ceremony and its benefit dinner was held at the Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. This is the first time the ceremony has taken place in person for the last two years. It was also streamed online.
Keene is the chair of African American and African Studies department at Rutgers University, Newark. He is also a member of the English department and works in the MFA Creative Writing Program. Earlier this year he won a Lamba Literary award and also the Thom Gunn Prize, which is awarded for a work of Gay Poetry.
The book, which is split into seven different sections, has 234 pages. It spans several decades and includes both previously unpublished works and also new ones. There are several themes running through the book: love, lust and loss, and many voices, including those of prominent Black personalities and friends of the poet. Keene, who was so surprised by the award that he could barely speak during the ceremony, calls the book a “mixtape”. He also quoted a line by his favourite poet, Robert Hayden, whilst giving his acceptance speech.
Baillie Gifford 2022 Prize Winner
The writer Katherine Rundell has been awarded this year’s Baillie Gifford Prize in the non-fiction category for her modern biography, which looks at the priest, poet and scholar John Donne and examines the many sides of his character.
Titled Super-Infinite: The Transformations of John Donne, the book took her 10 years to complete and three drafts. Rundell takes home a cash prize of £50,000 for the book the judges described as being “exquisitely rendered”.
The judges had a difficult task this year and selected their winner from the 362 books that were being considered for the prize.
Inaugurated in 1999 the prize is open to books in a range of different areas that were published in the 12-month period leading up to the award.
Poetry Foundation’s Pegasus Awards Ceremony
This year thirteen writers were celebrated and made history during the 2022 awards ceremony, hosted by the Poetry Foundation, which took place in the city of Chicago.
The prize ceremony included the yearly Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. This particular prize is given to a living US poet to recognise their outstanding lifetime achievements. This year marks the 110th anniversary of the Poetry magazine, and, as such, 10 extra prizes were awarded.
The 11 winners of the 2022 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize have been named as Nikki Giovanni, Juan Felipe Herrera, Sharon Olds, Angela Jackson, Haki Madhubuti, Sonia Sanchez, Arthur Sze, Rita Dove, and Patti Smith.