JACKSON, Tenn. – Dec. 4, 2009 – Union University English professor Bobby Rogers won the annual 2009 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize Competition from the University of Pittsburgh Press, which will publish a book of Rogers’ poetry.
“It’s one of the places you hope your book will land,” Rogers said. “And Pitt University Press publishes poets I have a great amount of respect for.”
The competition is for writers who have not previously had a full-length book of poetry published. This year’s competition had entries from about 900 poets, who each submitted a book of poems 50-80 pages in length. The competition is named after the first director of the University of Pittsburgh Press, and carries a cash award of $5,000 in addition to the book’s publication.
Rogers said he has submitted his work to the competition in previous years and has been placed within the top 20, but finalists do not get published – only the winner. The editor of the press, Ed Ochester, is the one who reads the works and chooses the winner.
The book Rogers submitted is a collective work of 34 poems written over a 10-year span. Rogers said most of the poems are narrative and he likes to write works about families and the South. About 2,000 copies of the book, which will be entitled “Paper Anniversary,” will be published in the fall of 2010.
“I’m happy it’s found a good home with what may be the best university press poetry series in the country,” Rogers said. “They keep books in print a long time -- more and more presses are going to print on demand, so it’s nice to be with a traditional press where they will keep the books around.”
By Megan Thompson (’12)