KAVEH AKBAR IS JUDGE OF THE INAUGURAL FRANZ WRIGHT POETRY PRIZE
EYEWEAR PUBLISHING is excited to announce a new prize named for Franz Wright. Pulitzer-winning poet Franz Wright was the author of over twenty collections of original poetry and six volumes of translations, and passed away from cancer in 2015. This prize is intended to honour his inestimable contribution to poetry, and support poets of any age and nationality in his memory.
Wright is unique in that he is filial half of the only father/son pairing to have won the Pulitzer Prize in the same category (with his father, James Wright). Born in Vienna and raised in America, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College in 1977. During his illustrious career he was the recipient of a Whiting Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. He taught at Emerson College, among other universities, and his published works include Walking to Martha’s Vineyard, God’s Silence and most recently The Toy Throne, which was published by Tungsten Press in 2016. He was also known for his work in the field of mental health.
The Franz Wright Prize for Poetry is open to submissions from poets of all ages, backgrounds, education levels, citizenship statuses, and nationalities: anyone can enter any manuscript. The only stipulations are that the manuscript must be in English, original, unpublished, not translated. Submissions must be 40 pages or more in length.
The winner will receive $2000, and will be published by Eyewear on March 18th, 2019 – which would have been Wright’s 66th birthday. Submissions will open on January 1st, 2018, and close June 1st, 2018. Kaveh Akbar will judge the prize in its first year.
Akbar is the author of the chapbook Portrait of the Alcoholic (Sibling Rivalry Press, January 2017); his first collection Calling a Wolf a Wolf was published in the US by Alice James Books in September 2017, and will be published in the UK by Penguin in February 2018. Born in Tehran, he is currently a professor at Purdue University’s MFA program and Randolph College. He is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and a Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, as well as the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. Akbar is also the founder and editor of Divedapper, which conducts interviews with major voices in contemporary poetry.
Dr Todd Swift, Publishing Director of Eyewear, says “We are very grateful to Franz Wright’s estate for this incredible honour, and thrilled to launch this prize in recognition of Franz’s support of poetry. Eyewear has always championed a diverse range of voices in poetry, and are proud to be taking submissions from poets of any age, from all over the world. Kaveh will make a wonderful judge for this first iteration, and we’re sure he’ll have many fantastic manuscripts to choose from.”
Photo credit for Franz Wright: Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright