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Winner of 2014 May Swenson Poetry Award Announced

Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014

Poet Luisa A. Igloria, 2014 recipient of the May Swenson Poetry Award

Luisa A. Igloria is the winner of the 17th annual May Swenson Poetry Award, presented by Utah State University Press and the Literary Estate of May Swenson. Her winning collection of poems will be published by USU Press.

Luisa A. Igloria, of Norfolk, Va., is the winner of the 17th annual May Swenson Poetry Award, presented by Utah State University Press and the Literary Estate of May Swenson. Igloria will receive a cash award of $1,000 and her winning collection of poems, “Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser,” will be published by USU Press in summer 2014.

Judge for the 2014 award was Mark Doty, American poet and memoirist. Doty selected Igloria’s work from among 30 finalists chosen by a panel of professional poets and university teachers of poetry from hundreds of entries from across the United States and several countries abroad.

Doty discussed Igloria’s work and her selection as the award recipient.

“When Luisa Igloria cites Epictitus — as soon as a thing has been seen, it is carried away, and another comes in its place — she introduces the crowded and contradictory world her poems portray: a realm of transience, yes, where the vulnerable come to harm and everything disappears, but also a scene of tremendous, unpredictable bounty, the gloriously hued density this poet loves to detail,” he said. “‘I was raised/to believe not only the beautiful can live on/ Parnassus,’ she tells us [in her work], and she makes it true, by including in the cyclonic swirl of her poems practically everything: a gorgeous, troubling over-brimming universe.”

A well-published poet, Igloria is professor of creative writing and English and director of the MFA creative writing program at Old Dominion University. Beyond the 10 books she has previously published, her work has appeared or been accepted in numerous anthologies and journals, including Poetry, Crab Orchard Review, The Missouri Review, Indiana Review, Poetry East, Umbrella, Sweet, qarrtsiluni, poemeleon, Smartish Pace, Rattle, The North American Review, Bellingham Review, Shearsman (UK), PRISM International (Canada), Poetry Salzburg Review (Austria), The Asian Pacific American Journal and TriQuarterly.

Originally from Baguio City in the Philippines, Igloria has four daughters and now makes her home in Virginia with most of her family.

Doty is a National Book Award-winning poet and influential voice in American letters. Doty has published more than 12 volumes of poetry and prose and he is professor/writer in residence at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

The May Swenson Poetry Award, an annual competition named for May Swenson, honors her as one of America’s most provocative and vital writers. During her long career, Swenson was loved and praised by writers from virtually every school of American poetry. She left a legacy of 50 years of writing when she died in 1989. She is buried in Logan, Utah, her hometown.

Utah State University Press, a division of USU’s University Libraries and imprint of the University Press of Colorado, is an award-winning scholarly publisher in several academic fields. USU Press proudly sponsors the annual May Swenson Poetry Award.

For more information on the Swenson Award, see the USU Press website.

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USU’s University Libraries

Source: USU Press

Contact: Dan Miller, (435) 797-1372,

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