2014 Voertman/Academy of American Poets Prize winner announced
DENTON (UNT), Texas -- Chelsea Wagenaar, graduate student in the Department of English at the University of North Texas, earned the 2014 Voertman/Academy of American Poets Prize. The award was presented at the UNT Rilke Prize reading on April 8 (Tuesday).
The $200 prize was awarded to Wagenaar for her poem "August" in which she describes an X-ray of a fractured ankle as "Mercy spurred the bone/like a newbirthed star in the thin corridors/of your ankle." Wagenaar's poem was selected by Katie Peterson, winner of this year's UNT Rilke Prize for her book "The Accounts". In Peterson's recognition of the winner, she included a short explanation citing Wagenaar's attraction to and capability to withstand sorrows.
"There is a bravery of composition, a willingness to pair the smallness of experience with the largeness of thought," Peterson said.
The Academy of Poets, as part of their Academy Book Awards, sponsors the University and College Poetry Prize Program to distribute annual prizes at over 200 colleges and universities nationwide.
Wagenaar's first manuscript of poems won the Philip Levine Prize, a national competition that leads to book publication by Anhinga Press, a prize of $2,000 and 25 free author copies of the winning book. This year's prize was judged by Philip Levine for whom the award is named, a Pulitzer Prize winner and former U.S. Poet Laureate. Wagenaar is expected to graduate in May 2016.
A copy of Wagenaar's poem "August" is available online.
About the Department of English
The Department of English at UNT cultivates scholarly/creative achievement and provides graduate- and undergraduate-level instruction in the areas of Anglophone literary and cultural studies, creative writing and rhetoric/composition. The department strives to promote greater understanding of literary and cultural texts and to guide students toward practical fluency in literary theory; to contribute to the literary traditions of the language by fostering the creation of new works of poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction; to develop theories and methods of writing instruction; and to investigate the history and forms of persuasive writing. With nearly a hundred full-time faculty and teaching fellows, the Department of English is one of the largest and most diverse in the College of Arts and Sciences.