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First winner of Rilke Prize to read her poems April 19

Laura KasischkeLaura Kasischke will read from Space, in Chains, the poetry collection that received the first UNT Rilke Prize, at 8 p.m. April 19 in the Eagle Student Services Center, Room 255.

Her visit will include a question-and-answer session with students the afternoon before her free reading, which is part of the Visiting Writers Series sponsored by the Department of English.

The $10,000 Rilke Prize, given by the Creative Writing Program, recognizes a book of poetry published during the previous year that “demonstrates exceptional artistry and vision written by a mid-career poet.” The prize is named after early 20th-century German poet Rainer Maria Rilke, who is best known for his Duino Elegies, written from 1912 to 1922.

“What distinguishes the prize is that it recognizes poets at a middle stage in their writing life, before they’ve received other major recognition, but after they’re no longer emerging writers and are writing their mature work,” said Corey Marks, associate professor of English and director of the Creative Writing Program.

In selecting Space, in Chains as the Rilke Prize winner, Marks and Bruce Bond, Regents Professor of English, wrote that Kasischke “reveals a penetrating insight into what makes people work and not work through her characteristic emotional range, wit, surprising and uncanny imagery, and an intensity created through spare and radiant language.”

The Rilke Prize will be awarded each year, with the winner presenting a reading from his or her honored poetry collection to end the Visiting Writers Series for the spring semester. The winner will also make at least one public appearance in the Dallas-Fort Worth area outside of Denton. Kasischke will also read April 20 at the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Cultures.     

A professor of English at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Kasischke was recently recognized with a National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry and Space in Chains was named a New York Times Notable Book for 2011.

She has also received the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award from the Poetry Society of America, the Juniper Prize for Poetry from the University of Massachusetts Press, several Pushcart Prizes and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Kasischke also has written eight novels, including The Life Before Her Eyes, which became the basis for a 2007 film of the same name, and Be Mine, which became a national bestseller in France.

Kasischke is a graduate of Columbia University and the University of Michigan.   

-       Nancy Kolsti, News Promotions

Posted on: Wed 18 April 2012

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