The first annual Jackson Poetry Prize, a $50,000 award for poets of “exceptional talent” who have not received major national acclaim, has been given to Elizabeth Alexander, author of four books of verse.
The prize was announced Friday by sponsor Poets & Writers, Inc., which calls itself the nation’s largest nonprofit literary organization serving creative writers. Alexander was selected by a committee of three poets: Lucille Clifton, Stephen Dunn and Jane Hirshfield.
A professor of African-American studies at Yale University, Alexander was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2005 for her collection “American Sublime.” Her books include “The Venus Hottentot,” “Body of Life” and “Antebellum Dream Book.”
The award is named for philanthropist and poet Susan Jackson, whose Liana Foundation donated the prize money, and her husband, John Jackson.