Katherine Soniat, of Asheville, has been named recipient of this year’s Oscar Arnold Young Award for the best book of poetry from North Carolina for her collection entitled The Swing Girl, published by Louisiana State University Press. The award, given annually since 1959 by the Poetry Council of NC, is one of the state’s most prestigious awards for poetry.
Soniat is the author of four previous books and has a fifth, A Raft, A Boat, A Bridge, forthcoming from Dream Horse Press later this year. Formerly a professor at Hollins University and Virginia Tech, she currently teaches in the Great Smokies Writing Program of the University of NC at Asheville.
Former NC Poet Laureate Kathryn Stripling Byer says of Soniat’s poems, “the fluidity of their cadence and the luminosity of their imagery carry the reader to the wellspring of poetry itself, that deep delight whose source is, in Soniat’s words ‘beauty on its way to being mystery’.”
Soniat will receive a cash prize for this honor and give a reading at the Council’s annual Poetry Day to be held this year on April 14 at Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory, NC. Poems from her book will also be featured in the Council’s annual awards anthology, Bay Leaves, to be released at Poetry Day.
This year’s contest received 24 submissions and was judged by Ronald Moran, Professor Emeritus at Clemson University and author of 13 books of poetry and scholarship, and Paul Hostovsky, Pushcart Prize recipient and author of 6 collections of poetry.
The judges also selected Lie Down with Me: New and Selected Poems (Autumn House Press) by Julie Suk of Charlotte, as First Runner-Up, and Rendering the Bones (Wind Publications) by Brevard’s Susan Lefler and An Innocent in the House of the Dead (Main Street Rag) by Joanna Catherine Scott of Chapel Hill as Honorable Mentions.
All of the winning poets will be invited to read at Poetry Day. The Poetry Council sponsors and facilitates a total of 9 annual contests. The results from the other contests will be released in the next few weeks. Information about the Council and the contests can be found at http://www.poetrycouncilofnc.wordpress.com.