|Marcel Duchamp's notorious Nude Descending a Staircase.|
The Academy of American Poets announced that Pulitzer Prize-winning poet John Ashbery has selected Chris Hosea as the recipient of the 2013 Walt Whitman Award, the Academy's prestigious first book prize. The award was established in 1975 to encourage the work of emerging poets and to enable the publication of a poet's first book.
As the winner of the Whitman Award, Hosea's manuscript, Put Your Hands In, will be published by Louisiana State University Press in 2014 and the Academy of American Poets will purchase and distribute thousands of copies of the book to its members. Hosea will also receive $5,000 and a one-month residency at the Vermont Studio Center. A native of Princeton, New Jersey, Chris Hosea earned an A.B. cum laude in English and American Literature from Harvard College. He then went on to receive his M.F.A. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
About Put Your Hands In, John Ashbery writes: "Exactly a century ago, the Armory Show brought European avant-garde art to New York. We are still experiencing its consequences. Among the works on view was Marcel Duchamp's notorious Nude Descending a Staircase, which a derisive critic wanted to rename, 'Explosion in a Shingle Factory.
"Both titles come to mind as one reads Chris Hosea's Put Your Hands In, which somehow subsumes derision and erotic energy and comes out on top. Maybe that's because 'poetry is the cruelest month,' as he/she says, correcting T.S. Eliot. Transfixed in mid-paroxysm, the poems also remind us of Samuel Beckett's line (in Watt): 'The pain not yet pleasure, the pleasure not yet pain.' One feels plunged in a wave of happening that is about to crest."
Founded in 1934, the Academy of American Poets mission is, "to support American poets at all stages of their careers and to foster the appreciation of contemporary poetry."