SU’s Kennedy named 2007 winner of Isabella Gardner Poetry Award
SU’s Kennedy named 2007 winner of Isabella Gardner Poetry AwardOctober 04, 2007Sara Millersemortim@syr.edu
Christopher Kennedy, associate professor of English and director of the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing at Syracuse University, has been named the 2007 winner of the prestigious Isabella Gardner Poetry Award for his poetry collection “Encouragement for a Man Falling to His Death,” to be published this month by BOA Editions. The Isabella Gardner Poetry Award is given biennially to a mid-career poet of exceptional merit for a poetry collection under contract with BOA Editions. BOA Editions is a Pulitzer Prize-winning, not-for-profit publishing house that has published more than 185 books of American poetry and poetry in translation.
Poet, actress and associate editor of Poetry magazine, Gardner (1915-81) championed the work of young and gifted poets, helping many of them find publication. This award carries an honorarium of $1,000 and is sponsored by the Gardner Charitable Trust.
“It’s a great pleasure to be associated with such a fine press, and to receive such a distinguished award is more than I could have expected,” says Kennedy.
According to BOA, Kennedy’s new collection of poems, “Encouragement for a Man Falling to His Death,” is a mix of verse and prose poems, with an emphasis on the former. A number of poems are 14 lines, contain an octet and sestet and present an argument, which is then reinforced or countered. This more formal style provides the necessary “architecture” for Kennedy to grieve his father’s death. Having recently turned 50 himself — the age his father was when he died — Kennedy in his poems reflects his own obsession with the idea of transformation — from the ordinary to the extraordinary, from life to death.
“Encouragement for a Man Falling to His Death” was also selected for The Montserrat Review’s “Best Books for Fall” reading list.
This is Kennedy’s third full-length collection of poetry, adding to “Nietzsche’s Horse” (Mitki/Mitki Press, 2001) and “Trouble with the Machine” (Low Fidelity Press, 2003). He also authored three poetry chapbooks: “Greatest Hits” (Pudding House Press, 2005), “King Cobra Does the Mambo” and “‘B’ Sides.”
Kennedy has received grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts. His writing has appeared in print and electronic journals, including “Ploughshares,” “The Threepenny Review,” “Double Room” and “Del Sol Review,” among many others.
Kennedy has received fellowships and awards from the Onondaga County Cultural Resource Center, the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts.
He received a bachelor’s degree in English from Le Moyne College and a master’s degree in creative writing/English from SU.