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Poets and prizes

Posted by David Mehegan  March 19, 2007 12:37 PM

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alexander.jpg
Elizabeth Alexander

The selection Friday of Yale professor Elizabeth Alexander as the first winner of the Jackson Poetry Prize reinforces the point made below that American prizes for poetry are a lot bigger than those for prose. The Jackson prize, given by Poets & Writers Inc., is $50,000. The Bollingen Prize, awarded recently to Frank Bidart, is $100,000. The largest prose award is the PEN/Faulkner, which is $15,000.

Perhaps it's fitting, though -- poets sell on the whole so many fewer books than prose authors, that they're more likely to need the money.

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