West Virginia University associate professor of English Mary Ann Samyn has won the 2012 FIELD Poetry Prize.

She will receive $1,000, and her prize-winning manuscript, “My Life in Heaven,” will be published in the FIELD Poetry Series through the Oberlin College Press in the spring of 2013.

The FIELD Prize was judged by the editors of the Press, David Young and David Walker.

“We had an exceptionally strong pool of entrants this year, including roughly a dozen books we would have been happy to publish,” Walker said. “But we kept coming back to Mary Ann Samyn’s manuscript, which is striking in its subtlety, complexity and utterly distinctive voice. Even readers who know Samyn’s earlier books will be dazzled by the wit and incisiveness of ‘My Life in Heaven.’ We were moved and excited by it, and feel fortunate to be able to add it to our list.”

Samyn is the author of four previous full-length collections of poems: “Captivity Narrative” (Ohio State, 1999), “Inside the Yellow Dress” (New Issues, 2001), “Purr” (New Issues, 2005) and “Beauty Breaks In” (New Issues, 2009). Her many honors include a Pushcart Prize, the Emily Dickinson Prize from the Poetry Society of America, and the James Wright Poetry Award from Mid-American Review. She is the Bolton Professor for Teaching and Mentoring at WVU where she teaches in the Creative Writing Program.

“This comes as no surprise to us in the Department of English,” said Mark Brazaitis, director of the WVU Creative Writing Program. “Mary Ann is an exceptional poet, as her long list of publications and awards attests. That she also happens to be a terrific teacher makes her all the more essential to what we are trying to achieve.”

For more information, contact Professor Mary Ann Samyn at 304-293-9730 or MaryAnn.Samyn@mail.wvu.edu.



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