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Creative Writing’s Catherine Barnett wins Academy of American Poets Award for “The Game of Boxes”

September 28, 2012

Catherine Barnett, a faculty member in NYU’s Creative Writing Program, has been awarded the 2012 James Laughlin Award by the Academy of American Poets for her book The Game of Boxes (Graywolf Press, 2012).

The James Laughlin Award is the most prestigious prize for a second book of poetry in the United States. The winning poet receives a cash prize of $5,000 and the Academy of American Poets distributes copies of the book to its membership.

Offered since 1954 and endowed in 1995 by the Drue Heinz Trust, the annual award is named for the poet and publisher James Laughlin, founder of New Directions. This year’s judges were April Bernard, Cyrus Cassells, and Dana Levin. Past recipients include Cornelius Eady, Donald Hall, and Tracy K. Smith.

“With subtle and cumulative force, The Game of Boxes builds a complex poetic structure in which fundamental questions about motherhood, trust, eroticism, and spiritual meaning are posed and then set into motion in relation to one another,” Bernard said of the work. “The mind is delighted, the spirit enthralled, by this wonderful book.”

Barnett is the author of a previous collection of poems, Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced, which received the Beatrice Hawley Award. She has also captured a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Glasgow Prize for Emerging Writers, and a Pushcart Prize.

In 2012 the Academy of American Poets awarded nearly $200,000 to poets at various stages of their careers. Barnett and the Academy’s other prize recipients will be honored at the Academy’s Awards Ceremony as part of the annual Poets Forum at The New School in New York City on October 19, 2012 at 7 p.m.

Editor’s Note:
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 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

The Academy of American Poets is the largest member-supported nonprofit organization recognizing poets with annual awards in the United States. Since its creation in 1934, the Academy has worked to foster an appreciation for contemporary poetry and to support American poets at all stages of their careers. The Academy connects millions of people to great poetry through programs such as National Poetry Month, the largest literary celebration in the world;, the most popular site about poetry on the web; and an annual series of poetry readings and special events. For more information about the Academy of American Poets, visit


This Article is in the following Topics:
Faculty, Arts and Science

Type: Article

Press Contact: James Devitt | (212) 998-6808

Creative Writing’s Catherine Barnett wins Academy of American Poets Award for “The Game of Boxes”

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