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Berkeley judge awards national poetry accolade

Daily Planet staff
Friday October 13, 2000

The Poetry Center & American Poetry Archives is pleased to announce the winner of this year’s Poetry Center Book Award. Cole Swensen’s newest book of poems, “Try” (University of Iowa Press), was selected for the annual award by this year’s judge, poet Elizabeth Robinson, of Berkeley. The Poetry Center Book Award has been given every year since 1980 to an outstanding new book of poetry published in the previous year. 

The winner is awarded $500 and will be invited to read at The Poetry Center, along with the award judge, during The Poetry Center's spring 2001 season. 

Cole Swensen is a poet and translator based at the University of Denver in Colorado, where she directs the creative writing program and teaches literature and poetry. She has also taught in the Paris Writers’ Workshop and the Naropa Institute summer programs. Robinson wrote “What we try to enter becomes the story of the reach, the extended hand or hands-the story of recurrent, displaced, displacing trinities where that which transcends tries, and tries again, only to reach beyond itself, past representation, to flesh and blood. As comfortable with gap as she is with continuity, Swensen permits these poems to falter linguistically where history has crumbled, or the image cannot carry the weight of the explicit.” 

Elizabeth Robinson, judge for this year's Poetry Center Book Award, is the author of several books of poetry, including “Bed of Lists” (Kelsey St. Press), “In the Sequence of Falling Things” (Paradigm Press), and the recent chapbooks “As Betokening” (Quarry Press) and “Lodger” (Arcturus Editions). Her book “House Made of Silver” is forthcoming from Kelsey St. Press, and “Under the Silky Roof” from Burning Deck.