Poet Patricia Smith wins $100,000 lifetime achievement award

This image released by The Poetry Foundation shows poet Patricia Smith, recipient of the 2021 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for lifetime achievement, a $100,000 honor handed out by the Chicago-based Poetry Foundation. (Rachel Eliza Griffiths/The Poetry Foundation via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — Patricia Smith has won the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for lifetime achievement, a $100,000 honor presented by the Chicago-based Poetry Foundation.

Previous winners include W.S. Merwin, Kay Ryan and the current poet laureate, Joy Harjo. Smith is known for such collections as “Blood Dazzler” and “Incendiary Art,” a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2018.

On Tuesday, the foundation also announced that Susan Briante won the $7,500 Pegasus Award for poetry criticism for her essay collection “Defacing the Monument,” and that five emerging poets were named Poetry Fellows: Bryan Byrdlong, Steven Espada Dawson, Noor Hindi, Natasha Rao and Simon Shieh. The fellows will each receive $25,800.

“Every one of these extraordinary writers is a credit to the art form, each bringing their own unique experiences and approaches to enrich the literary landscape,” Michelle T. Boone, president of the Poetry Foundation, said in a statement. “It is a joyous occasion to be able to celebrate artists in poetic lineage with one another, what they’ve created thus far, and what is yet to come.”

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