16:20 07 Jul 2021

Serhiy Zhadan wins Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry

Ukrainian writer, translator, and public figure Serhiy Zhadan received the second annual Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry in the United States.

The co-winners of the second annual Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry are Canisia Lubrin for The Dyzgraphxst and Serhiy Zhadan for A New Orthography, the Arrowsmith Press reports.

The winners were selected by poet Major Jackson from a short list of twenty worthy finalists. The winners will split the $1,000 prize.

"The devastating and wildly charming poems in Serhiy Zhadan's A New Orthography, written in the wake of the Russo-Ukrainian War, once again make a startling case for the predominance of a lyrical imagination, especially during a geopolitical crisis. One might expect such poems to retreat to embittered irony or surreal escape. I am astounded at the large-scale heart of this work, the courageous persistence of an autonomous voice remarking on the dailiness of life in war time with apparent whimsy and an undercutting joy," Jackson commented.

"Many thanks to translators and publishers. Walcott is a really important author for me, his name inspires and allows me to see the meaning in composing lines and rhyming words. Thank you, it is a great honor," Serhiy Zhadan posted on his Facebook page.

Arrowsmith Press, in partnership with The Derek Walcott Festival in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, and the Boston Playwrights' Theatre, presents the annual Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry to be awarded to a full-length book of poems by a living poet who is not a US citizen published in the previous calendar year. The book must be in English or in English translation and may have been published anywhere in the world. The prize includes a $1,000 cash award, along with a reading at the Boston Playwrights' Theatre in Boston, and a week-long residency at Derek Walcott's home in either St. Lucia or in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, during the Walcott Festival. In the case of translations, the prize money is to be shared by the poet and the translator.

Sir Derek Alton Walcott was a Saint Lucian poet and playwright. He received the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature.

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