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Oct. 11, 2004 Press Contact: Josh Schonwald
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Poet Mark Strand receives 2004 Wallace Stevens Award

Mark Strand
Mark Strand

In the news:
“Chicago poet wins Wallace Stevens Award”
[chicago tribune]

Oct. 9, 2004

“A poet, a pulitzer, a blizzard of media”
[chicago tribune]

April 14, 1999

“Poet adds Pulitzer to his prizes”
[chicago sun-times]

April 13, 1999


Poet Mark Strand of the University of Chicago, the former poet laureate of the United States and a Pulitzer Prize winner, has received the 2004 Wallace Stevens Award, an honor bestowed by the Academy of American Poets that carries with it a $100,000 prize.

The award, given annually, recognizes outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry, and is chosen by a panel of poets. Though Strand is no stranger to such attention - in addition to serving as the poet laureate of the United States from 1990 to 1991 and winning the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, he also won two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships in 1977 and 1986 and a MacArthur Fellowship in 1987 - he said this award is particularly special to him because it comes from a panel of his peers.

"It's a very sweet award, there's no doubt about that," Strand said. "It's so meaningful to know that you're thought well enough of by your peers that they think you deserve something like this."

Strand, who has been a member of the University's faculty for seven years as the Andrew MacLeish Distinguished Service Professor in the Committee on Social Thought, said being associated with the award's namesake, Wallace Stevens, is also humbling. Stevens is one of the major American poets of the 20th century.

"He's been a constant influence on me," Strand said. "When I began writing poetry, he's the poet I wanted to sound like. His name means a great deal to me."

Strand, coincidentally, is teaching a seminar on Stevens this quarter.

"Teaching here is great because my students are just brilliant," he said. "I love interacting with them ... And I also think it's important to teach them. Fewer and fewer people are reading poetry, so it has become increasingly important that people out there are teaching it."

In addition to his work with students, Strand is also completing a manuscript of poems he hopes to have published by summer 2006. His last work, 1998's Blizzard of One, is the piece for which he won the Pulitzer.

Strand is the author of nine other books of poetry, as well as three children's books. His translations include The Owl's Insomnia, a selection of Rafael Alberti's poems, and Traveling in the Family, a selection of Carlos Drummond de Andrade's poems. He has also published numerous articles and essays on painting and photography, and three books on painting: The Art of the Real, William Bailey and Hopper.

Strand will travel to New York Nov. 15 to collect his prize in a ceremony with the Academy of American Poets.
Last modified at 10:13 AM CST on Tuesday, October 12, 2004.

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