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George GarrettGeorge Garrett To Receive Aiken Taylor Award For Modern American Poetry

Dec. 7, 1999 -- The poet, novelist and essayist George Garrett, professor of English at the University of Virginia, has been chosen to receive the 13th Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry. The $10,000 prize, awarded annually to honor the work of a long and distinguished career, is administered by the Sewanee Review, the nation's oldest literary quarterly, which has been continuously published since its founding in 1892. The prize will be presented at the University of the South in late January.

The award, among the country's most prestigious for poetry, was established in 1986 through a bequest to the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., by Dr. K.P.A. Taylor, a younger brother of the poet Conrad Aiken. Previous winners of the prize have included Richard Wilbur, Howard Nemerov, Gwendolyn Brooks, Maxine Kumin and Wendell Berry.

Garrett, who is retiring this month as the Henry Hoyns Professor in the U.Va. English Department's Creative Writing Program, succeeded Peter Taylor in that chair. Garrett is the author of seven books of poetry including most recently, "Days of Our Lives Lie in Fragments: New and Old Poems 1957-1997," published by the Louisiana State University Press last year.

George Core, editor of the Sewanee Review since 1973, said: "It is very gratifying that the Aiken Taylor Prize for the year 2000 will go to George Garrett, who has long been associated with the Sewanee Review and who lectured on the poetry of Anthony Hecht and Fred Chappell when those writers won the prize."

The poet and critic Neal Bowers, writing in the Sewanee Review (Spring 1999), observes of him that "in an age of narrow specialization he is one of those rare writers who lives at ease in several genres."

"From the beginning, Garrett's work reveals a poet of rare intelligence and quick insight," Bowers adds. "Garrett's poems lodge in the heart as well as the mind."

Including novels, collections of stories and poetry, drama, criticism, essays and other nonfiction, Garrett is the author of some 30 books and is editor or co-editor of 19 others. His numerous honors include the PEN/Malamud Award for Short Fiction and the T.S. Eliot Award for Creative Writing. The Eliot Award's recipients include Walker Percy, Octavio Paz, V.S. Naipaul, Eugene Ionesco, Anthony Powell and Jorge Luis Borges.

Garrett's affiliation with the Sewanee Review began in 1957, and in 1958-59 he held a Sewanee Review fellowship. Aside from Robert Penn Warren he is the only writer to have regularly published poetry, fiction and criticism in the quarterly. "Like Warren," Core said, "Garrett is one of a vanishing breed -- the man of letters. And no other writer has done as much as he to promote, enhance, and elevate writing in the U.S. over the past 40 years."

Garrett taught writing at U.Va. from 1962 to 1967 and returned to take the Hoyns professorship in 1984. He also has taught at Wesleyan University, Hollins College, the University of Michigan and Princeton University. Among his many well regarded books is the trilogy of novels set in Elizabethan England, "Death of the Fox," "The Succession," and "Entered From the Sun," and the novels "Which Ones Are the Enemy?" and "Do, Lord, Remember Me."

For additional information George Core, editor of the Sewanee Review, may be reached at (931) 598-1245.

Contact: Bob Brickhouse, (804) 924-6856

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


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