University Press of Colorado announces Patricia Colleen Murphy as the winner of the 2016 May Swenson Poetry Prize. Her award has been announced in a press release by University Press of Colorado, a press announcement by University Press of Colorado, and a May Swenson Poetry Award announcement.
Judge for the 2016 award was Stephen Dunn, American poet, teacher, and essayist. The Swenson competition receives hundreds of entries each year from across the United States and several countries abroad. Dunn selected Murphy’s work from among 27 finalists chosen by a panel of professional poets and university teachers of poetry. Dunn had this to say about Ms. Murphy’s work:
The curious title of Patricia Murphy’s wonderfully disturbing Hemming Flames doesn’t become clear to us until the last poem in the book. And, as good titles do, it provides a way of understanding what have been the book’s necessities. The last two lines are, “Yesterday I invented fire. / Today I’m hemming flames.” The “today” speaks to almost every poem Murphy artfully offers us, as if the act of writing itself is an attempt to hem what can’t easily be hemmed.
Stephen Dunn is Distinguished Professor (emeritus) of creative writing at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, and has also taught at Columbia University, NYU, University of Michigan, Princeton, and the University of Washington. He is the author of sixteen collections of poetry, including the most recent Lines of Defense (Norton, 2014), and Here and Now (Norton, 2011). His poem “The Imagined” is included in The Best of the Best American Poetry: 1988-2012 (Scribners, 2013), and he has been the featured poet in The American Poetry Review, The Georgia Review, and The Cortland Review.
Stephen has been the recipient of many awards including The Pulitzer Prize for Different Hours in 2001, The National Poetry Series in 1986 forLocal Time, Academy Award in Literature from The American Academy of Arts & Letters, and The Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement. He has also received fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, three NEA Creative Writing Fellowships, a Distinguished Artist Fellowship from the NJ State Council on the Arts, the Levinson and Oscar Blumenthal Prizes from Poetry, the Theodore Roethke Prize from Poetry Northwest, and the James Wright Prize from Mid-American Review, among others.
The Room and the World: Essays on the Poet Stephen Dunn, a book of twenty-six essays by poets and critics on his life and work, edited by Laura McCullough, was published by Syracuse University Press in 2013.