Poets & Writers has just named Ed Roberson the winner of this year’s Jackson Poetry Prize, which celebrates an American poet of exceptional talent and comes with a purse of $70,000. For the past 14 years, this prize has provided poets with time and encouragement to keep writing. Past recipients include Joy Harjo (now serving a second term as U.S. Poet Laureate), Claudia Rankine, and Arthur Sze.
This year’s judges were Nikky Finney, Anne Waldman, and Robert Wrigley. In their citation, they say:
It is a great privilege honoring Ed Roberson as the recipient of the Jackson Prize for 2020. This is an extraordinary time to be awarding this significant prize in poetry, a momentous time in our recent history, a time of panic, fear, uncertainty and inner turmoil, and devastating tragedy where people are separated from one another, cannot even touch or bury loved ones, and yet are bound together inextricably by their vulnerability as humans in the vast web—a interconnected Indra’s net—of co-arising cause and effect with chaos and outrageous failings as well. . . Poetry such as Ed Roberson’s troubles these meditations, these issues, these apocalyptic queries in innovative expressive ways. He is both scholar and jazz-like innovator .
You can read the full press release—and a little bit of Ed Roberson’s poetry—here.