Poets Matt Donovan and LB Thompson, graduates of New York University’s Creative Writing Program, were among the 10 recipients of the 2010 Writing Writers’ Awards, which are given annually to writers of exceptional talent and promise early in their careers.
Previous winners of the Whiting Awards, selected by the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, include Jonathan Franzen, Sarah Ruhl, and Michael Cunningham. Recipients, who range from fiction and non-fiction authors to poets to playwrights, each receive a cash prize of $50,000. The recipients were announced at a ceremony at New York’s Morgan Library and Museum on October 27.
Donovan’s first poetry collection, Vellum, won the 2006 Bakeless Prize and was published by Mariner/Houghton Mifflin. He has been the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, an NEA Fellowship, a Larry Levis Reading Prize, a Lannan Foundation Writing Residency Fellowship, and has published poems in AGNI, American Poetry Review, Poetry, The Threepenny Review, among others. He directs and teaches in the Creative Writing and Literature Department at Santa Fe University of Art and Design and is currently working on his second collection of poems. The Whiting selection committee noted Donovan’s “wide cultural and aesthetic net, his sense of humor, and gorgeousness of detail. Subtle, intelligent, beautifully crafted, these poems are like tapestries in a museum, remarkable as much for the rich artistic life they represent as for the skill with which they have been woven.”
Thompson’s poetry chapbook, Tendered Notes: Poems of Love and Money, won the Center for Book Arts’ annual chapbook competition in 2003. Her poems have appeared in Fence, Pool, Lyric, The Women’s Review of Books, and The New Yorker. A recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, Thompson’s essay about her long period of illness, “Torpor: Metaphors of Hibernation,” appeared in Prairie Schooner in 2009. Thompson teaches English to college freshmen, works as a freelance copyeditor, and lives on the North Fork of Long Island. She recently completed a poetry manuscript entitled The Dark Skirt of the Universe and is at work on a novel and a collection of essays. “This is poetry that could only be poetry—it has real wit as well as sensuousness,” the award selectors wrote. “Ms. Thompson is a true visionary poet…Also astonishing is the bright, clear gaze—like being in the presence of the oracle.”
The NYU Creative Writing Program, among the most distinguished programs in the country, is a leading national center for the study of writing and literature. The undergraduate and graduate programs provide students with an opportunity to develop their craft while working closely with some of the finest poets and novelists writing today. The Creative Writing Program occupies a townhouse on West 10th Street in the same Greenwich Village neighborhood where so many writers have lived and worked. The Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House allows writers--established and emerging--to share their work in an inspiring setting. For more, visit www.cwp.fas.nyu.edu.