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US Poet Laureate selects Ray Gonzalez for Witter Bynner Fellowship

We are thrilled to announce that Juan Felipe Herrera, the current United States Poet Laureate, has selected BOA poet Ray Gonzalez for the 2017 Witter Bynner Fellowship!

Herrera will introduce a program celebrating Gonzalez on March 21, 2017, at the James Madison Building in Washington, DC. The event is free and open to the public.

Gonzalez will receive a $10,000 fellowship. Now in its 20th year, the fellowship is made possible by the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry.

About his selection, Herrera said, “Ray Gonzalez, a longtime poet, diamond-eyed traveler, observer of our Southwestern landscapes and peoples, is a most worthy writer to receive the Witter Bynner Fellowship. As a poet, he has covered much ground—not only as a professor and founder of many literary events throughout the nation, but also as a pioneer in experimental poetics; El Paso, Texas, histories and narratives; and incessant literary production. Ray has been at this for over four decades, not to mention his contributions in flash fiction, fiction, non-fiction, and his deep knowledge of American Pop musical culture. He is most deserving, most talented, and a true treasure for all of us.”

Of his appointment, Gonzalez said, “I am honored to receive this fellowship in a time when American poetry has a large readership and is influencing our culture in many ways. I thank Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera for his belief in my work and for showing me, over the decades of artistic activism, what community is all about. I also wish to remember my late teacher and poet, Robert Burlingame, for opening my eyes to poetry in 1973 and changing my life.”

Gonzalez, a professor in the MFA Creative Writing Program at The University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, is the author of 15 books of poetry. His most recent book is Beautiful Wall, which won the 2016 Minnesota Book Award. His honors include the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Book Award, three Minnesota Book Awards for Poetry, the Carr P. Collins/Texas Institute of Letters Award for Best Book of Non-fiction, the Latino Heritage Award in Literature, the Con Tinta Lifetime Achievement Award in Latino Literature, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southwest Border Regional Library Association.

The Witter Bynner Fellowship supports the writing of poetry. The fellowship is awarded at the Library of Congress, and each winner participates in reading and recording sessions at the Library as well. The Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry was incorporated in 1972 in New Mexico to provide grant support for programs through non-profit organizations.

Click here for the full announcement.

Beautiful Wall is available now at the BOA Bookstore.

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