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1997 WKU graduate wins 2012 Iowa Poetry Prize, a leading national award

A 1997 WKU graduate is the winner of one of the leading national poetry awards.

Stephanie Pippin of St. Louis is the 2012 recipient of the Iowa Poetry Prize, presented by the University of Iowa Press. Her winning debut collection, The Messenger, will be published in spring 2013.

“Except for the Pulitzer in poetry and the National Book Award, this is about as prestigious as it gets,” WKU English Professor Mary Ellen Miller said. “I still have Stephanie’s poetry manuscript from 1996.”

Pippin is a lecturer in the Department of English at Washington University in St. Louis. Her poems have appeared in Best New Poets 2010, Ploughshares, Boston Review, and The Iowa Review.

In announcing the award, the University of Iowa Press called Pippin’s work “thrilling poems of metamorphosis and birth, death and dissolution.”

“Stephanie Pippin’s debut collection, The Messenger, returns us to a world unshorn of wildness. Delivering accident and hunger, love and grief, Nature in these poems is beautiful and brutal, ‘a hellish magnificence’ that both invites and denies the meanings we project onto it. Refusing the domesticated comfort of our usual myths, Pippin reminds us of our place as creatures among others in a world where ‘what isn’t dead / is dying,’ and where the thrill of predatory flight commingles with the desperation of the prey.”

The Iowa Poetry Prize competition is open to new as well as established poets. Recent winners of the prize include Natural Selections, by Joseph Campana, Grand & Arsenal, by Kerri Webster, Like a Sea, by Samuel Amadon, and A Little Middle of the Night, by Molly Brodak.

Contact: Mary Ellen Miller, (270) 745-5721.

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