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Professor Ross Gay Wins 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry

The latest in a series of awards garnered by Professor Ross Gay, The National Book Critics' Choice Award in poetry has now been added to his collection, in celebration of his Catalogue of Unabashed Gratitude. Awarded annually since 1976, the NBCC awards honor the best literature published in the United States in six categories—autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry-and winners are chosen by literary critics.

Tess Taylor, writing for the NBCC blog, "Critical Mass," said this about Gay's book: "Sometimes, in this age of irony, disillusionment, and moral outrage, it is hard to find convincing language for praise, or space for praising at all. This is why I was so grateful to read Ross Gay’s messy, juicy collection about his life as a community orchardist, helping to raise pawpaws and persimmons in an orchard the public can tend and also pick."

Catalogue of Unabashed Gratitude was also the winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry.
Alumna Cameron Gearan's First Book, Some Perfect Year, Published

On March 15, 2016, Cameron Gearan's book of poems, Some Perfect Year, was released by Shearsman Books. Gearan completed her MFA at IU in 2000, with David Wojahn as her thesis advisor, who had this to say about the new book, "At a time when other poets too often use their skills to explore superficial ironies and the easy tour de force, it is refreshing to see a poet who aspires to more durable goals. SOME PERFECT YEAR is a debut collection of considerable distinction." Along with being a published poet, Gearan works as a freelance writer and college counselor and lives outside of Chicago with her daughters and her dog.
Professor Ross Gay wins Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award

Professor Ross Gay is the winner of the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. One of the most prestigious awards in poetry, the honor carries with it a $100,000 prize. While many literary awards recognize a single published work or a successful writing career, the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award was created to honor mid-career poets and provide them the means to continue working toward the pinnacle of their craft.

Gay's latest collection, "Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude," was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in 2015 as part of the acclaimed Pitt Poetry Series. It was a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award, the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2015 NAACP Image Awards, all in poetry categories.

The publisher described "Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude" as a sustained meditation on that which goes away -- loved ones, the seasons, the earth as we know it -- that tries to find solace in the processes of the garden and the orchard. Gay's deeply rooted connections to the land go beyond verse. In Bloomington, he serves on the board of directors for the Bloomington Community Orchard.

"It is my great pleasure to commend Ross Gay on the Kingsley Tufts Award for his book, 'Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude,'" said Bob Bledsoe, director of the Creative Writing Program at IU Bloomington and the Indiana University Writers' Conference.

Read the full press release here.
Alum Alexander Weinstein's First Book to Be Released in September

Alexander Weinstein's (MFA in Fiction 2010) debut short story collection, Children of the New World, will be forthcoming from Picador in September 2016. He is a 2015 recipient of a Sustainable Arts Foundation Award in fiction, and his short stories have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, received the Lamar York, Gail Crump, Hamlin-Garland, and New Millennium Prizes, and appear in the anthologies New Stories from the Midwest 2013, and the 2014 & 2015 Lascaux Prize Stories. In 2010 he founded The Martha's Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. The Institue offers creative writing awards and scholarships to its summer writing program. His recent short stories and translations are forthcoming in Pleiades, Conduit, Hayden's Ferry Review, The Chattahoochee Review, and other journals. He is an assistant professor of Creative Writing at Siena Heights University, and lives in Ann Arbor with his son, Peter.

Links to prize stories:
The Prophet
Children of the New World
Professor Ross Gay and Alum Kyle Dargan Named Finalists for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award

From the Claremont Graduate University Press Release: "The Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award is given annually to honor a poet at mid-career, providing resources that allow the artist to continue working toward the pinnacle of their craft.

'“The roster of eligible books testified to the extraordinary range and diverse beauty of current American poetry; to pick only ten finalists for two awards should have been impossible,” said Lori Anne Ferrell, director of the Kingsley and Kate Tufts Poetry Awards. “So I have no idea how the judges will be able to go on to choose only two winners, but I can’t wait to be there when they do.”'

"Winners will be announced in March and recognized during a ceremony on April 7."
Ross Gay named National Book Awards Finalist

Ross Gay's Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude (Pitt Poetry Series/University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015) is a finalist for the 2015 National Book Awards.

Winners will be announced at a ceremony in New York on November 18th.

Congratulations, Ross!

Read more:
Jacqueline Jones LaMon Elected President of Cave Canem Foundation

The Cave Canem Foundation, North Americas premier home for black poetry, is pleased to announce that Jacqueline Jones LaMon (MFA, '06) has been elected to serve as the organizations next president. She succeeds Cave Canem co-founder Toi Derricotte, who held the office from February 1997 to late September 2015. Derricotte will continue to serve on the board as a director.

Reflecting on the work ahead, LaMon says, In our next phase of development, Cave Canems board, staff and stakeholders will build on the solid groundwork established by Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady, continuing to advance the organization as the premier center and home for African American poetries. She sees her two-year term as president as an opportunity to strengthen Cave Canems infrastructure and ensure a healthy foundation for decades to comeemphasizing our creative excellence, shaping our legacy of mentorship, and promoting entrepreneurial leadership.

LaMon is the author of two award-winning collections of poetry, most recently, Last Seen (University of Wisconsin Press), and a novel, In the Arms of One Who Loves Me (Ballantine Books). An Associate Professor at Adelphi University, where she teaches in the multi-genre MFA program, she has received fellowships from Yaddo Foundation, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, among others. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Read the full press release here.
2015 Writer in South Asia

In late July, 2015, Indiana University MFA students Cherae Clark and Dan Minty joined Samrat Upadhyay on a two-week trip to South Asia, where they engaged in a variety of literary and cultural activities. Titled The Writer in South Asia, the project aims to transform the travelers writing by forcing it to engage with a broader social and political sphere and deepen their sense of being writers of the world. At the IU India Office in Gurgaon, they participated in literary panels and held workshops with young writers from the Delhi area. After a trip to Taj Mahal in Agra and the Pink City of Jaipur, they traveled to Nepal, where they continued their literary and cultural
explorations: participating in the award ceremony of the Writing Nepal story contest, which was sponsored and judged by Samrat Upadhyay; leading workshops with students at the Buddhanilkantha School and with young professionals at Edushala; and roaming around the architecturally rich cities of Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur.

See more pictures here on the IUB English Facebook page.
Coleman Winner of 2015 Berkshire Prize

Patrick Coleman (2011 MFA Graduate, Fiction) is the winner of the 2015 Berkshire Prize for his manuscript, Fire Season.

Judge Carol Frost writes: The poems in Fire Season are full of friction--common word touching common word making that friction. They are also philosophical and personal. Patrick Coleman is tuned in to landscape, language, and humanity, each poem casual as office talk and heightened by their proximity to art and by the force of the sentence--such arresting sentences.

The winner of the Berkshire Prize receives a $3,000 cash prize, publication by Tupelo Press, and national distribution.

Congratulations, Patrick!
Simeon Berry's Ampersand Revisited and Monograph

Congratulations to Simeon Berry (2002 MFA Graduate, Poetry) for publishing his first collection of poetry, Ampersand Revisited (Fence Books, 2015, winner of the National 2013 Poetry Series, selected by Ariana Reines) and his second book of poetry, Monograph (University of Georgia Press, 2015, winner of the 2014 National Poetry Series, selected by Denise Duhamel).

By winning both the 2013 and the 2014 National Poetry Series, Simeon becomes the second poet in the 36-year-history of the Series to win twice, and the only one to win in consecutive years. In 2014, the prize money for each of the five winners of the Series was increased to $10,000 thanks to a grant from the Lannan Foundation.

Consisting of three long poems, Ampersand Revisited traces the legacy of a father drawn toward the occult and a mother immured in a personality disorder through the experiential wisdom of a neurotic Connecticut teenager.

Written in narrow sections that blur the distinction between flash fiction and prose poetry, between memoir and meditation, Monograph veers from the elliptical to the explosive as it dissects the Gordian knot of a marriages intellectual, sexual, and domestic lives.

Simeon Berry lives in Somerville, Massachusetts. He has been an Associate Editor for Ploughshares, and won a Massachusetts Cultural Council Individual Artist Grant and a Career Chapter Award from the National Society of Arts and Letters. His work has appeared in Crazyhorse, AGNI, Colorado Review, Blackbird, DIAGRAM, The Iowa Review, American Letters & Commentary, and many other journals.