A West Virginia University author will have his first book of poems in print after claiming a prize awarded annually by a West Virginia publisher of verse.

Mark Brazaitis , associate professor and director of creative writing in the Department of English , is the 2008 recipient of the ABZ Press Poetry Prize for his manuscript,The Other Language.As winner, the book of poems will be published in May.

Im honored to have my work selected to be published, especially by an outstanding poet and famously discerning critic,said Brazaitis, whose work was chosen by final judge Heather McHugh, author of poetry books that have been finalists for the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award.

The Huntington-based ABZ Press awards the poetry prize annually to an applicant who writes in English literature but has not yet published a book of poetry.

Brazaitispoetry is centered on an Americans account of two years spent in Guatemala and, in McHughs words,shaded by sympathies, brightened by affections and cross-hatched by memories.

He credits his colleagues James Harms and Mary Ann Samyn for their inspiring example.

We have two of the best poets in the country on our faculty and many outstanding poets in our undergraduate and masters programs,he said.Its clear that poetry matters at West Virginia University.

Brazaitis joined the English faculty in WVU s Eberly College of Arts and Sciences in 2000. He earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from Bowling Green University and a bachelors degree in history from Harvard University.

He is author of three books of fiction:The River of Lost Voices: Stories from Guatemala,winner of the 1998 Iowa Short Fiction Award;An American Affair: Stories,winner of the 2004 George Garrett Fiction Prize from Texas Review Press; andSteal My Heart.

Brazaitis is also a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Eberly Colleges Outstanding Researcher Award and Outstanding Teacher Award, and an Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Senate Research Grant.

For more information, contact Brazaitis at 304-293-9707 or ” Mark.Brazaitis@mail.wvu.edu rel=nofollow> Mark.Brazaitis@mail.wvu.edu .