Awards

W. S. Di Piero wins the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize

April 19, 2012
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W. S. Di Piero wins the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize

For the second year in a row, a former Phoenix Poet has taken home the Poetry Foundation’s Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize—and, for W. S. Di Piero, the legacy is a long, tall glass of water. He joins the company of twenty-six fellow poets who have soldered the experience of working class lives into indomitable verse, like Philip Levine; those who, like C. K. Williams and Adrienne Rich, have championed social issues and countered injustice; and those, like John Ashbery, who also deal in the criticism of the visual arts. What makes Di Piero unique, in a body of work conjures the presence of divinity in everyday life, redresses the grievances of a working-class South Philadelphia upbringing, and moves with effortless comfort from plain-style speech to bold translations from Euripides and Giacomo Leopardi, is exactly what doesn’t. He tells the truth, and I think it’s fair to say, it’s not slant. Di Piero questions poets and the quotidian equally, and what he arrives at is often something close to a sense of permission. As Christian Wiman, editor of Poetry magazine stated the Foundation’s official announcement: “R. P. Blackmur once said that great poetry ‘adds to the stock of available reality,’ and . . .

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Announcing the 2012 Guggenheim Fellows

April 13, 2012
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Announcing the 2012 Guggenheim Fellows

  The 2012 class of Guggenheim Fellows was announced this week by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, inciting some exuberant responses on the part of several winners (check out Terry Teachout’s Twitter feed). The Guggenheim has long been hailed as the “mid-career award,” honoring scholars, scientists, poets, artists, and writers, who have likely published a book or three, professed a fair amount of research, and are actively engaged in projects of significant scope. The fellowship possesses some tortured origins—(John) Simon Guggenheim, who served as president of the American Smelting and Refining Company and Republican senator from Colorado, seeded the award (1925) following the death of this son John (1922) from mastoiditis (Guggenheim’s second son George later committed suicide, and more infamously his older brother Benjamin went down with the Titanic). Among this year’s crop (we dare say more forward-leaning than previous years?) is a roster of standout “professionals who have demonstrated exceptional ability by publishing a significant body of work in the fields of natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and the creative arts,” affiliated with the University of Chicago Press: Creative Arts Christian Wiman, editor of Poetry magazine and author of three poetry collections, coeditor of The Open Door: . . .

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Hopelessly Devoted

March 9, 2012
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Hopelessly Devoted

In the past few months, Bruce Smith’s Devotions has been nominated for the National Book Award (which went to Nikki Finney, for Head Off & Split), the National Book Critics Circle Award (which just last night went to Laura Kasischke, for Space, in Chains), and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize (which will be announced on April 20). One of Smith’s previous collections The Other Lover (2000) was a finalist for both the National Book Award (taken home by Lucille Clifton’s Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988–2000) and the Pulitzer Prize (awarded to Stephen Dunn’s Different Hours). Reluctant to turn to idiom (“Always a. . . .”), let’s shift to the book in question: “Write like a lover. Write like you’re leaving yourself for another. Write like you’re de Beauvoir, object and subject. Write like you must rescue yourself from yourself, become scrupulous to the body and the rain that floods you with rage and the crude sublimities: there was a lip print on the plastic glass wrapped in the misty domestic interior of the room. Write like there’s evidence, there’s tenderness, like Paris were the scene of a crime. A lipstick by the bed, a phone number, a . . .

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Robert J. Richards, Sarton Medalist

November 9, 2011
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Robert J. Richards, Sarton Medalist

Kudos to Robert J. Richards, the Morris Fishbein Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Science and Medicine at the University of Chicago, for a recent accolade: the Sarton Medal for Lifetime Achievement from the History of Science Society (HSS). Named after George Sarton, a founder of the HSS, the Sarton Medal is “the highest honor conferred by the History of Science Society, in recognition of a lifetime of exceptional scholarly achievement by a distinguished scholar, selected from the international community.” Richards’s credentials? Besides authoring Laing Prize-winners The Tragic Sense of Life: Ernst Haeckel and the Struggle over Evolutionary Thought (2008) and The Romantic Conception of Life: Science and Philosophy in the Age of Goethe (2002), Richards has also penned The Meaning of Evolution (1992) and Darwin and the Emergence of Evolutionary Theories of Mind and Behavior (1987, and winner of the Pfizer Prize from the HSS for the best book in the history of science). In addition, he’s coedited two collections: Darwinian Heretics (with Abigail Lustig and Michael Ruse) and the Cambridge Companion to Darwin’s Origin of Species (also with Michael Ruse). From the Sarton Medal release: Professor Richards holds an MA in biological psychology (University of Nebraska), a . . .

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A Knight and Marshall, both: New honors for Sahlins

October 25, 2011
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A Knight and Marshall, both: New honors for Sahlins

Marshall Sahlins—globally renowned ethnographer, Polynesian historian, and the Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology (Emeritus) at the University of Chicago—has had quite a series of weeks. First came notice from the French Ministry of Culture, helmed by Frédéric Mitterand: Sahlins has been named a Chevalier des Arts et des Letters (Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters), an honorary position that commends artists, scholars, and others who have contributed “to the enrichment of French culture.” In addition, Sahlins is set to receive not one—but, two—honorary doctorates, from the Sorbonne and the London School of Economics. In addition, the Sorbonne will host a daylong conference on Monday, November 14, 2011, in celebration of Sahlins and his work, featuring contributions from sociologists, anthropologists, and philosophers from around the world. The author of numerous books (an assortment of which have been translated into French, including The Western Illusion of Human Nature), Sahlins is also the executive publisher of Prickly Paradigm Press. Among those books of Sahlins published by the University of Chicago Press are Culture and Practical Reason, winner of the Gordon J. Laing Prize; How Natives “Think”: About Captain Cook, For Example; Islands of History; Apologies to Thucydides: Understanding . . .

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Awards, fellowships, and recent accolades

April 28, 2011
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Awards, fellowships, and recent accolades

’Tis the season for award announcements and prize citations, and we’re delighted to announced several recent winners and acknowledge their achievements. We begin with an award close to home: the Gordon J. Laing Prize, which is awarded annually by the University of Chicago Press (since 1963) to the faculty author, editor, or translator of a book published in the previous three years that brings the Press the greatest distinction. This year, we honor Robert J. Richards for The Tragic Sense of Life: Ernst Haeckel and the Struggle over Evolutionary Thought. . . .

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Everything’s coming up poetry

April 13, 2011
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Everything’s coming up poetry

Yesterday afternoon, the Poetry Foundation announced their 2011 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize winner: David Ferry, our own Phoenix Poet and author of three collections published by the University of Chicago Press. The Lilly Poetry Prize is presented annually to a living American poet whose lifetime accomplishments “warrant extraordinary recognition.” No small award, this: at $100,000, it is one of the nation’s largest and most coveted literary prizes. With all of that in mind, we extend our warmest congratulations to Professor Ferry on this remarkable achievement. From Poetry editor Christian Wiman’s Lilly Prize citation: “David Ferry is probably best known as a translator—and his achievements in that regard are extraordinary—but I think in the end it will be his poems that last,” said Wiman. “In a time when most poetry relies on intense surface energy, Ferry’s effects are muted and subterranean—but then, in their cumulative effect, seismic. For 50 years he has practiced poetry as if it truly matters to our lives and to our souls—and now his poems have that rare power to wake us up to both.” We celebrate David Ferry as the author of Dwelling Places: Poems and Translations, Of No Country I Know: New and Selected Poems . . .

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A belated PROSODY

February 15, 2011
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A belated PROSODY

We’re just settling in after our long winter’s nap (in which we dream a dream very much like the College Art Association’s annual meeting and centennial year launch in New York), chiding ourselves for forgetting to offer some important early February accolades. Last week, at a ceremony in Washington, DC, the 2010 PROSE Awards were announced, honoring the best scholarly and professional publications in over forty categories, nominated by peer publishers, librarians, and science professionals. Among them? The PROSE Award for U.S. History, handed out to Claude Fischer’s Made in America: A Social History of American Culture and Character, in which Fischer draws upon decades worth of research to track our American “We” over the past three centuries. And we were just as delighted to see Courtney Bender’s The New Metaphysicals: Spirituality and the American Religious Imagination, a work that locates contemporary American spiritual beliefs in various nineteenth-century movements, take home the PROSE Award for Theology and Religious Studies. And let’s add kudos for our honorable mentions to this rousing chorus: Matthew Jesse Jackson’s The Experimental Group: Ilya Kabakov, Moscow Conceptualism, Soviet Avant-Gardes (Art History and Criticism), Alan D. Schrift’s The History of Continental Philosophy (Multivolume Reference, Humanities and Social . . .

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The National Book Critics Circle gets (On) Photography

January 24, 2011
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The National Book Critics Circle gets (On) Photography

In 1919, the (literally) round table at New York’s Algonquin Hotel first became fodder for the goings-about-town sections of literary journals and New York City dailies, as Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, George S. Kaufman, and others (shoutout to Edna Ferber!) barbed wits while whittling their way through Prohibition, personal failures and successes (“This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”) and other trappings of the times. In April 1974, in tribute to those well-quoted luminaries, three contemporary critics (John Leonard, Nona Balakian, and Ivan Sandrof) decided to extend their conversation about contemporary literature to the national level and thus, the National Book Critics Circle was formed. Now, our foray, thirty-seven years after the fact: Hearty congrats to Susie Linfield, author of The Cruel Radiance: Photography and Political Violence, a finalist for the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism! In a banner year (Two university presses with nominees in the Criticism category! Independent publishers spread throughout the list!) for the NBCC, we couldn’t be more delighted to celebrate what Artforum, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, the Nation, and many others have already acknowledged: Linfield’s book . . .

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The week that was and oh, what a week it was!

December 20, 2010
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The week that was and oh, what a week it was!

It slipped through our fingers like sand through the hourglass! We nearly fainted with the outpouring of yearly best-of lists and insightful mentions. We’re too overwhelmed to keep everything under wraps until Thursday next—we offer the below, with humility for the tardy appearance of this post and fervor for the warp and weft of a wrap-up of that week that was: “This must be Thursday. I could never get the hang of Thursdays.” The Boston Globe reviews The Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can’t Explain the Modern World, our most recent offering from the “outrageously prolific and always fascinating” economist and writer, Deirdre N. McCloskey. “The latest chapter in what has to be one of the most interesting scholarly careers in America today.” We agree! Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time finds worthy mention at the Atlantic‘s “The Best Book I Read This Year” series. “It’s a particularly interesting book to read in one’s twenties.” Hey, we remember when we wrote at the Atlantic in our tw—wait, the Atlantic (Monthly)? Er, nevermind. That ship has sailed, Christopher Cross. That ship has sailed. Jonathan Messinger commends Larry Bennett’s The Third City: Chicago and American Urbanism with a solid tagline . . .

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