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Dante Micheaux wins $20,000 Four Quartets Poetry Prize

Dan Sheehan

May 1, 2019, 1:45pm

Circus_Dante Micheaux

Congratulations to Dante Micheaux who has been awarded the prestigious Four Quartets Poetry Prize for his 2018 collection, Circus.

The Four Quartets Prize, which comes with a $20,000 purse, is awarded by the Poetry Society of America for “a unified and complete sequence of poems published in America in a print or online journal, chapbook, or book in 2018. Poems in the sequence may have been published in different journals provided that they were published in 2018 and that brought together, they form a complete sequence.”

Circus was selected as the winner by judges Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Carmen Giménez Smith, and Rosanna Warren, whose citation reads: “How right that this poet’s first name should be Dante. For his Circus is a Comedy: a savage comedy, lacerating dialects, fingering wounds, looking for loves right and wrong in the crevices of history and of humiliated bodes. And yet, and yet. His language exults, triumphs, and freely rummages in the treasuries of the Bible, Baudelaire, Whitman, Eliot, Baraka, and Mahalia Jackson, taking what it needs, making it his sovereign own, a wrested blessing. Congratulations, Dante Micheaux, on your astonishing Circus.”

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