Friday, March 30, 2007

Congratulations to Cave Canem

The Cave Canem Foundation has just been awarded a three-year Lannan Foundation literary grant for $150,000. Cave Canem is an organization that supports African American poets, especially emerging poets. Founded by Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady, they recently celebrated their ten-year anniversary, and they have been an exciting force in the American poetry scene.

The University of Georgia Press and Cave Canem have strong ties. Each year Cave Canem awards a poet's debut collection with the Cave Canem Poetry Prize. UGA Press, the
University of Pittsburgh Press, and Graywolf Press alternately publish these prize-winning books. UGA Press's volumes include Major Jackson's LEAVING SATURN, Kyle Dargan's THE LISTENING, and forthcoming this fall, Dawn Lundy Martin's A GATHERING OF MATTER / A MATTER OF GATHERING. We are also pleased to be publishing Kyle Dargan's second book of poems, BOUQUET OF HUNGERS, this fall, though not in direct association with Cave Canem.

Earlier this month we published
THE RINGING EAR: BLACK POETS LEAN SOUTH, an anthology of southern Cave Canem poetry edited by Nikky Finney. Voices new to the scene appear alongside some of the leading names in American literature today, including Sonia Sanchez, Yusef Komunyakaa, Harryette Mullen, Nikki Giovanni, Kevin Young, and Al Young. The southern worlds opened up by these poets are echoed in how their poems are grouped, under headings like "Music, Food, and Work: Heeding the Lamentation and Roar of Things Made by Hand," or "Religion and Nature: The Lord Looks Out for Babies and Fools," or "Love, Flesh, and Family: The Hush and Holler Portraits." In a review in the March/April issue of The Bloomsbury Review, Ray Gonzalez says, "By writing about a region with its rich history and racial contradictions, these poets advance the impact of their poetry beyond historical and cultural boundaries. This is a timely, vital collection that insists the uses of poetry must be redefined and examined through the work of some of our best poets."

Upper left: Cave Canem Foundation logo
Upper right: Major Jackson
Middle left: Kyle Dargan, credit: Marlene Hawthrone
Middle right: Dawn Lundy Martin, credit: Stephanie Hopkins
Lower left: Nikki Finney, credit: Bradd Luttrell, Kentucky Kernel

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