SPD is proud to announce that two SPD authors, Kayleb Rae Candrilli and Vanessa Angélica Villarreal have won prestigious Whiting Awards.
Since 1985, the Whiting Foundation has supported creative writing through the Whiting Awards, given annually to ten emerging writers in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama. The awards, of $50,000 each, are based on early accomplishment and the promise of great work to come.
The Foundation hopes to identify exceptional new writers who have yet to make their mark in the literary culture. Though the writers may not necessarily be young (talent may emerge at any age), the grant ideally offers recipients a first opportunity to devote themselves fully to writing, and the recognition has a significant impact. Whiting winners have gone on to win numerous prestigious awards and fellowships, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Obie Award, and MacArthur, Guggenheim, and Lannan fellowships, and their work has shaped and advanced literature in this country over the past three decades. More about them here
"When Roethke said 'energy is the soul of poetry,' he might have been anticipating a book like WHAT RUNS OVER, which is so full of energy it practically vibrates in your hand. Here, Candrilli's speaker sticks their tongue 'into the heads / of venus fly traps just to feel the bite,' then later, burns holy books in the backyard and rolls around in the ashes until they become 'a painted god.' This is the verve of an urgent new poetic voice announcing itself to the world. As Candrilli writes: 'This is what I look like / when I'm trying to save myself.'" - Kaveh Akbar
(Noemi Press, 2017)
By Vanessa Angélica Villarreal
"BEAST MERIDIAN is a fierce incantation, harnessing the intuition and intelligence of personae navigating a 'melancholy galaxy' full of the violences of societies and families, in which the pain of the earth and the pain of the body are not separate. In languages of tenderness and weaponry, landscapes and bodyscapes, insight and foresight, talismanic memories and imaginings, Vanessa Angelica Villareal constructs layered complications to see newly into, or grieve not being able to look beyond. Far from surrender, the poems write toward a communal resilience: 'entre todas las mujeres we kneel to push away the final night'-a unity among wounded women, their collective mythology infused with necessary interrogations and radiant intensity, as they (and their words) 'spill & spill until we spread / like a flood." - Khadijah Queen
SPD's Executive Director, Jeffrey Lependorf, presenting an SPD pin to Kayleb Rae Candrilli.
More about the 2019 Whiting Award Winners here