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November 1, 2002

2002 Bobbitt Poetry Prize Awarded to Alice Fulton

The poetry reading by Alice Fulton, winner of the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for poetry, scheduled for Thursday, December 5 at 8 p.m. at the Library of Congress has been postponed until further notice.

The 2002 Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry will be awarded to Alice Fulton on Thursday, Dec. 5 at 8 p.m. in the Mumford Room, sixth floor, James Madison Memorial Building. This year's prize, the seventh to be given, was awarded to Fulton for her book, "Felt," published in 2001 by W. W. Norton. A public reception honoring Fulton will follow her reading.

The biennial, privately funded $10,000 prize, given on behalf of the nation, recognizes the most distinguished book of poetry written by an American and published during the preceding two years. The prize is donated by the family of the late Mrs. Bobbitt of Austin, Tex., in her memory, and established at the Library of Congress. Bobbitt was the late President Lyndon B. Johnson's sister. While a graduate student in Washington, D.C., during the 1930s, Rebekah Johnson met college student O. P. Bobbitt when they both worked in the cataloging department of the Library of Congress. They married and returned to Texas.

In addition to its selection for this year's Bobbitt Prize, "Felt" was chosen by the Los Angeles Times as one of the Best Books of 2001 and as a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award in Poetry. Her other collections include "Sensual Math" (1995); "Powers of Congress" (1990; reissued 2001); "Palladium" (1986), winner of the 1985 National Poetry Series and the 1987 Society of Midland Authors Award; and "Dance Script with Electric Ballerina" (1983; reissued 1996), winner of the 1982 Associated Writing Programs Award. She is also the author of a collection of prose, "Feeling as a Foreign Language: The Good Strangeness of Poetry" (1999).

Fulton is the recipient of many other awards and honors, including fellowships from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Michigan Society of Fellows, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Her work has been included in five editions of "The Best American Poetry" series and in the 10th Anniversary edition, "The Best of the Best American Poetry, 1988-1997," edited by Harold Bloom. Her 39-page sequence of poems called "Give" was included in "After Ovid: New Metamorphoses," edited by Michael Hofmann and James Lasdun (1995). She has received a Pushcart Prize, the Bess Hokin award from Poetry, the Elizabeth Matchett Stover Award from Southwest Review, and the Emily Dickinson and Consuelo Ford Awards from the Poetry Society of America.

Currently professor of English at Cornell University, Alice Fulton has been a visiting professor at the University of California, Los Angeles; Ohio State University; Columbus University; and the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. In 1994, she received an honorary doctor of letters degree from the State University of New York. In 1990, she was honored with the Henry Russel Award in teaching at the University of Michigan. She was a member of the American Delegation at the 1988 Chinese/American Writers' Conference held in Beijing, Xian, Leshan, Wuhan and Shanghai in the People's Republic of China.

The winner of the 2002 Bobbitt Prize was chosen by a three-member jury appointed in July by a selection committee composed of the Librarian of Congress, the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, a publisher named by the Academy of American Poets and a literary critic nominated by the Bobbitt family. The jury for this year's prize was David Baker, Eamon Grennan , and Heather McHugh.

"Full of animated, charged poems," said the 2002 jury. "Alice Fulton's latest collection sizzles with logophilia and tropes, is blessed with the kind of direct wiring between sensation and language, feeling and form, that strikes first with physical and then with intellectual and emotional wallop. Hers is a poetic sensibility at once remarkably comprehensive and remarkably precise, and felt; her best book so far is possessed of great velocity, great staying-power."

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PR 02-162
11/01/02
ISSN 0731-3527

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