Carole Weinstein Poetry Prize
Home Curators Recipients (active)
  2015 Recipient


Illustrating the illustrators
Nocturne: For the Aviaries
Lighting Department

Joshua Poteat is the author of three books of poems, The Regret Histories (winner of the 2014 National Poetry Series/HarperCollins, 2015); Illustrating the Machine that Makes the World (VQR/University of Georgia Press, 2009); and Ornithologies (winner of the Anhinga Prize, 2006), as well as three chapbooks: The Scenery of Farewell and Hello Again (Diode Editions, 2014); For the Animal (Diagram/New Michigan Press, 2013); and Meditations (winner of the Poetry Society of America Chapbook Prize, 2004). His poems have appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, The Southern Review, Ninth Letter, Blackbird, Gulf Coast, Typo, American Letters and Commentary, Handsome, and many others. He has won numerous awards and fellowships from Poetry Society of America, Virginia Commission for the Arts,Vermont Studio Center, The Millay Colony, Eastern Frontier Educational Foundation/Norton Island, American Literary Review, Bellingham Review, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, Hunger Mountain, Marlboro Review, Nebraska Review, River City, and others. Poteat has held the Donaldson Writer in Residence at The College of William & Mary and has been a visiting writer at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is also an assemblage artist, making light boxes out of found materials, and collaborating with the designer Roberto Ventura on art installations, one of which won Best in Show for InLight and another was chosen for a group show at Randolph Macon College’s Flippo Gallery. Originally from Hampstead, NC, Poteat lives in Richmond, VA, with the writer Allison Titus and their four pugs, where he works as an editor of assorted texts for The Martin Agency.

  2014 Recipient


Dawn Revisited
Hattie McDaniel Arrives at the Coconut Grove

Rita Dove served as U.S. poet laureate from 1993 to 1995 and as poet laureate of Virginia from 2004 to 2006. She is the author of nine collections of poetry, including Thomas and Beulah, winner of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize, and the 2009 tour de force Sonata Mulattica, a poetic treatise on the life of 19th century violinist George Bridgetower. Other publications include a collection of short stories, the novel Through the Ivory Gate, the drama The Darker Face of the Earth and, as editor, The Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry. In 1998 the Boston Symphony debuted Ms. Dove's song cycle "Seven for Luck", with music by John Williams, under the composer's baton. Rita Dove has received numerous honors, among them the 2011 National Medal of Arts from President Obama, the 1996 National Humanities Medal from President Clinton, the 2003 Emily Couric Leadership Award, the 2008 Library of Virginia Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2009 Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal and the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University, as well as 25 honorary doctorates – most recently, earlier this year, from Yale University. Rita Dove is Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia.

  2013 Recipient


In the Night Orchard
Storm Warning
Dar He

R. T. Smith was born in Washington, D.C. and has lived in Georgia, North Carolina and Alabama.  He moved to Virginia in 1995 to edit Shenandoah for Washington and Lee University and now also serves as Writer-in-Residence for WLU.  Smith is the author of thirteen collections of poetry, including Messenger (LSU) and Outlaw Style (Arkansas), both recipients of the Library of Virginia Poetry Prize.   He has also published twelve chapbooks of poetry and four collections of short fiction.  His In the Night Orchard: Selected Poems is due from Texas Review in 2014.  His work has also appeared in Best American Poetry, Best American Short Stories, Best American Mystery Stories and three volumes of the Pushcart Prize anthology.  The NEA, the Alabama State Arts Commission, the Wurlitzer Foundation and the Virginia Commission for the Arts have granted him writing fellowships.  In 2008 Smith received the Virginia Governor’s Arts Award for his editing work at Shenandoah. Smith lives in Rockbridge County with his wife, the novelist and poet Sarah Kennedy, with whom he edited Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets of Virginia (UVA Press).

  2012 Recipient


The Rose
Passing People on the Street

Kelly Cherry has published twenty books of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, eight chapbooks, and translations of two classical plays. Her most recent titles are The Woman Who, a collection of short stories (2010), The Retreats of Thought: Poems (2009) and Girl in a Library: On Women Writers & the Writing Life (2009). Her collection The Life and Death of Poetry: Poems is forthcoming from Louisiana State University Press in spring 2013, and her poetry chapbook Vectors: J. Robert Oppenheimer: The Years before the Bomb will appear in December, 2012, from Parallel Press. She was the first recipient of the Hanes Poetry Prize given by the Fellowship of Southern Writers for a body of work. Other awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bradley Major Achievement (Lifetime) Award, a USIS Speaker Award (The Philippines), a Distinguished Alumnus Award, the Dictionary of Literary Biography Yearbook Award for Distinguished Book of Stories in 1999 (2000), and selection as a Wisconsin Notable Author. In 2010, she was a Director’s Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. In 2012 she received the inaugural Rebecca Mitchell Taramuto Prize for fiction from Blackbird magazine. She was Poet Laureate of Virginia from 2010-2012. A member of the Electorate of Poets Corner at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City, she is also Eudora Welty Professor Emerita of English and Evjue-Bascom Professor Emerita in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She and her husband live in Halifax, Virginia.

  2011 Recipient


After John Donne’s “To His Mistress Going to Bed”
The Irises

Lisa Russ Spaar is the author of Vanitas, Rough: Poems (Persea Books, 2012), Satin Cash: Poems (Persea Books, 2008), Blue Venus: Poems (Persea Books, 2004) and Glass Town: Poems (Red Hen Press, 1999), for which she received a Rona Jaffe Award for Emerging Women Writers in 2000. Twelve of her poems appear in Exquisite History: The Land of Wandering: Poems & Prints (The Printmakers Left, University of Virginia Press, 2005) and numerous anthologies, including Best American Poetry 2008.  She is the author of two chapbooks of poems, Blind Boy on Skates (Trilobite/University of North Texas Press, 1988) and Cellar (Alderman Press/University of Virginia, 1983), and is editor of The Hide-and-Seek Muse: Annotations of Contemporary Poetry (Drunken Boat, 2013), Acquainted With the Night: Insomnia Poems (Columbia UP, 1999) and All That Mighty Heart: London Poems (University of Virginia Press, 2008).  She is currently at work on a new collection of poems, and is editor and introducer of the forthcoming anthology, Writing Monticello: Fifty Contemporary Poets on Jefferson and his House on the Mountain (University of Virginia Press, 2016).  Her work has appeared in many literary quarterlies and journals, including Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, Image, The Kenyon Review, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, Slate, Shenandoah, Southwest Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Yale Review, and elsewhere.  The recipient of awards from the Academy of American Poets and the Virginia Commission for the Arts, Spaar is the founder and Director of the Area Program in Poetry Writing at the University of Virginia, where she is Professor of English, an Advising Fellow, and the winner of the Jefferson Scholar Foundation Faculty Award for 2013/2014, an All-University Teaching Award (2009), a Harrison Award for Undergraduate Advising, and a Mead Honored Faculty Award.  She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for 2009/2010, the 2009 Library of Virginia Award for Poetry, and a 2010 Outstanding Faculty Award of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.  Her essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere.

  2010 Recipient


Independence Day
A Gift of Warblers

Henry Hart grew up on a Christmas tree farm in the foothills of the Berkshires of western Connecticut, received a B.A. from Dartmouth College in 1976, and did his graduate work under the supervision of Richard Ellmann at Oxford University from 1977 to 1983.  He has published several critical books on modern poets, including The Poetry of Geoffrey Hill (1986), Seamus Heaney: Poet of Contrary Progressions (1991), Robert Lowell and the Sublime (1995), and The James Dickey Reader (1999).  His biography, James Dickey: The World as Lie (2000), was runner-up for a Southern Book Critics’ Circle Award.  He has also published three books of poetry: The Ghost Ship (1990), The Rooster Mask (1998), and Background Radiation (2007).  His fourth manuscript of poems, Communion, is circulating among publishers.  From 1984 to 1994, he served as one of the head editors of VERSE, an international poetry magazine he helped found with two Scottish graduate students he met at Oxford.  His essays and poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Southern Review, Denver Quarterly, The Gettysburg Review, The Georgia Review, The Kenyon Review, Contemporary Literature, Twentieth Century Literature, and numerous other journals.  He edited the post-World War II volume of The Wadsworth Anthology of American Literature and has written a young adult novel, The Wild Man of the Awoosatash, which he hopes will be published.  He is currently the Mildred and J.B. Hickman Professor of Humanities in the English Department at The College of William and Mary.

  2009 Recipients


The Diary
A Place Apart

A long-time resident of Charlottesville, Virginia, Eleanor Ross Taylor has been publishing books of poetry since 1960, when her impressive volume Wilderness of Ladies appeared. Taylor is the author of Welcome Eumenides, Days Going/Days Coming Back, Late Leisure, and two volumes of selected poems, most recently Captive Voices: New and Selected Poems, 1960-2008. She is the recipient of the Shelley Memorial Prize awarded by the Poetry Society of America, the Library of Virginia's Prize for Poetry, and the Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American poetry.



Thinking About the Poet Larry Levis One Afternoon in Late May
• From "Littlefoot:" 27
In Praise of What's Missing

Charles Wright's work is read and admired all over the world. Wright is the author of twenty-one volumes of poetry, two volumes of translations, and two volumes of “improvisations and interviews.” His poems have appeared ten times in The Best American Poetry series. He has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Griffin Poetry Prize, the PEN Translation Prize, and the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, and he has twice won the Library of Virginia book award. In 1999 he was elected a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets. For nearly three decades he has taught poetry and writing at the University of Virginia.

  2008 Recipient


Homage to Blind Willie Johnson
Spirit Cabinet
The Assassination of John Lennon as Depicted by the Madame Tussaud Wax Museum,
Niagara Falls, Ontario, 1987

David Wojahn was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1953, and educated at the University of Minnesota and the University of Arizona. His first collection, Icehouse Lights, was chosen by Richard Hugo as a winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets prize, and published in 1982. The collection was also the winner of the Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams Book Award. His second collection, Glassworks, was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in 1987, and was awarded the Society of Midland Authors’ Award for best volume of poetry to be published during that year. Pittsburgh is also the publisher of four of his subsequent books, Mystery Train (1990), Late Empire (1994), The Falling Hour (1997) and Spirit Cabinet (2002). Interrogation Palace: New and Selected Poems 1982-2004, published by Pittsburgh in 2006, was a named  finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and winner of the O. B. Hardison Award from the Folger Shakespeare Library. He is also the author of two collections of  essays on contemporary poetry, Strange Good Fortune (University of Arkansas Press, 2001) and From the Valley of Making (University of Michigan Press, 2015); editor (with Jack Myers) of A Profile of 20th Century American Poetry (Southern Illinois University Press, 1991), and editor of two posthumous collections of Lynda Hull’s poetry, The Only World (HarperCollins, 1995) and Collected Poems (Graywolf, 2006). He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Virginia, Illinois and Indiana Councils for the Arts, and in 1987-88 was the Amy Lowell Traveling Poetry Scholar. He has taught at a number of institutions, among them Indiana University, the University of Chicago, the University of Houston, the University of Alabama, and the University of New Orleans. He is presently Professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University, and is also a member of the program faculty of the MFA in Writing Program of Vermont College of the Fine Arts. His newest collection, World Tree, was published by Pittsburgh in 2011, and was the winner of the Academy of American Poets’ Lenore Marshall Prize, as well as the Poets’ Prize.

  2007 Recipient


Stringed Instrument Collection

Claudia Emerson was awarded the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for her book Late Wife. She was also the author of Pharaoh, Pharaoh, Pinion: An Elegy, Figure Studies, Secure the Shadow, and The Opposite House, to be released in March, 2015. All of Emerson's volumes are published in Dave Smith's Southern Messenger Poets series from LSU Press. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Southern Review, Shenandoah, TriQuarterly, New England Review, and other journals. Emerson was the recipient of a Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Virginia Commission for the Arts. Claudia Emerson lived in Richmond with her husband, musician Kent Ippolito, where she was Professor of of Creative Writing at Virginia Commonwealth University until her death on December 4, 2014.

  2006 Recipients


• That’s How I Spin
• Quarantine

Brian Henry grew up in the Richmond area and received his B.A. from the College of William and Mary as well as an M.F.A. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He has co-edited the international journal Verse since 1995 and was a Fulbright Scholar in Australia in 1997-98. In 2000, Arc Publications published his first book of poetry, Astronaut, which was subsequently shortlisted for the Forward Prize. Astronaut also appeared in Slovenia in translation from Mondena Publishing in 2000, and in the United States in 2002 from Carnegie Mellon University Press. Salt Publishing released his second book, American Incident, in 2002. His third book, Graft, appeared in 2003 from New Issues Press in the United States and from Arc in England. His fourth book, Quarantine, appeared from Ahsahta Press in 2006; Quarantine won the 2003 Alice Fay di Castagnola Award from the Poetry Society of America. A limited edition book, In the Unlikely Event of a Water, appeared from Equipage in England in December 2006. His poems have appeared in numerous magazines around the world—including The New Republic, American Poetry Review, The Paris Review, Grand Street, Poetry Review, and Jacket—and in many anthologies and has been translated into Russian, Slovenian, and Croatian. Henry has reviewed poetry for the New York Times Book Review, the Times Literary Supplement, Jacket, The Kenyon Review, Boston Review, The Yale Review, and Poetry Review, among other publications, and his essays on poetry have appeared in The Antioch Review, The Georgia Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Iowa Review, and in several scholarly books. He is currently Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Richmond.



Luck's Shining Child
Three Night Poems
Feeling Good, Feeling Fine

George Garrett is the author of thirty-five books, including eight poetry collections, and editor or co-editor of twenty others. Garrett earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees at Princeton, and retired from the faculty of the University of Virginia after a forty-year teaching career. Among his honors and awards are the Rome Prize of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Sewanee Review Fellowship in Poetry, fellowships from the Guggenheim, Ford, and Rockefeller Foundations and the National Endowment for the Arts, the T.S. Eliot Award of the Ingersoll Foundation, the Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry, the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, and an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He died in 2008 in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he lived his final years with his wife of more than fifty years, writer Susan Garrett.

  2005 Recipients


Loss Without Ceremony
Like Young Men
The Californian

Elizabeth Seydel Morgan has published four books of poetry with Louisiana State University Press, most recently, Without a Philosophy, winner of the L.E. Philabaum Poetry Award. Her fifth collection, Spans: New and Selected Poems, will appear in Fall, 2014. Her poetry has appeared in many anthologies, including Poetry Daily and Billy Collins' Poetry 180, as well as periodicals such as Poetry, Southern Review, Georgia Review, Iowa Review and The Virginia Quarterly Review. Online, her work has appeared in Cortland Review, Blackbird and Poetry Daily. Morgan has also written short stories honored by awards from The VQR and Southern Review, a screenplay that won the Governor's Award at the Virginia Film Festival, and a translation of Euripides' Electra for the Penn Greek Drama Series, University of Pennsylvania Press. Morgan studied creative writing with Louis D. Rubin, Jr., at Hollins College, and poetry writing with Dave Smith for her MFA at Virginia Commonwealth University. She initiated the creative writing courses at St. Catherine's and St. Christopher's school, which she taught for twenty years. She has also taught poetry writing at University of Richmond, Washington and Lee University, Randolph Macon Women's College, Virginia Correctional Center for Women and Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Studio School. Morgan received an NEH grant to study at Harvard Summer Seminars with Helen Vendler, and eight fellowships for residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.  She was Louis D. Rubin Writer-in-Residence at Hollins University in 2007, and in 2008 she taught poetry in France and at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is currently past-president of the Richmond Public Library Foundation and a Board Member of VCU's Cabell Library Associates.



High Above Terracina
Autumn Drab
The Soldiers Caught the Boys Near the Top of the Hill

Ron Smith is the author of Running Again in Hollywood Cemetery, runner-up for the National Poetry Series Open Competition and the Samuel French Morse Prize, and subsequently published by University Presses of Florida. His Moon Road: Poems 1986-2005 was published in 2007 and his Its Ghostly Workshop in 2013, both by Louisiana State University Press. His poems have appeared in many periodicals, including The Nation, Kenyon Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, New England Review, Georgia Review, Southern Review, Hollins Critic, Ascent, Verse, Puerto del Sol, Plume, and in a number of anthologies. His essays and reviews have appeared in a many journals and reference works, including The Georgia Review, Kenyon Review, and Richmond Times-Dispatch. He has taught courses in creative writing, American literature, Edgar Allan Poe, and the city of Rome at Mary Washington College, Virginia Commonwealth University, and University of Richmond. Ron Smith is the first-ever Writer-in-Residence at St. Christopher's School in Richmond, Virginia, where he has also held the Robert Bugg Chair and now holds the George Squires Chair of Distinguished Teaching. He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Richmond. In June of 2014 Ron Smith was named Poet Laureate of Virginia by Governor Terry McAuliffe.

© 2006 Carole Weinstein. All rights reserved.