INSIDE BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY
Binghamton book awards announced
Quincy Troupe received the Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award for Transcircularities, a collection of new and selected poems published by Coffee House Press. The John Gardner Fiction Book Award went to Laura Valeri for her debut short story collection, The Kind of Things Saints Do, published by University of Iowa Press and the 2002 winner of the John Simmons Short Fiction Award.
The Kessler Award recognizes “the best book of poetry published that year by a poet over 40.” Laura Boss, who selected the Kessler winner, is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Arms, and the founder and editor of LIPS magazine. Speaking of Troupe’s collection, Boss said: “Transcircularities is a dazzling book that chronicles more than 30 years of the American landscape, with all its potential and its contradictions . . . Despite the clarity and fierceness of his vision, Troupe cannot hide the tenderness and generosity of heart that resonate from this collection.”
Other finalists for the Kessler Award were Jan Beatty for Bone Shaker (University of Pittsburgh Press); Peg Boyers for Hard Bread (University of Chicago Press); Suzanne Cleary for Keeping Time (Carnegie Mellon University Press); Sarah Kennedy for Flow Blue (Elixir Press); Vivian Shipley for Where There Is No Shore (Word Press); and Gloria Vando for Shadows & Supposes (Arte Publico Press).
The Gardner Award recognizes “the best book of fiction, whether novel or story collection, published in that year.” The competition was adjudicated this year by Enid Shomer, whose own first collection of stories, Imaginary Men, received both the Iowa Fiction Prize and the LSU/ Southern Review Prize. Shomer is also the author of four books of poetry and poetry series editor for the University of Arkansas Press.
Speaking of The Kind of Things Saints Do, Shomer said: “Laura Valeri’s fiction offers all the virtues and pleasures of a high-stakes poker game. A sublime tension compels us forward in stories where everything rides on the next word and the winnings are the richest imaginable —human love and happiness.”
Other finalists were James McBride for Miracle at St. Anna (Riverhead Books); John Salter for Alberta Clipper (Livingston Press); Andrew Geyer for Whispers in Dust and Bone (Texas Tech. University Press); and Martin Pousson for No Place, Louisiana (Riverhead Books).
Troupe and Valeri will each receive $1,000 and be featured in a reading on campus in the spring.
The awards are sponsored by the Creative Writing Program, with the support of the Dean’s Office of Harpur College of Arts and Sciences.
Books published in 2003 are eligible for the 2004 awards. The deadline for entries is March 1. To download an application and guidelines, visit english.binghamton.edu/cwpro and click on “Binghamton Book Awards” or send a SASE to Binghamton Book Awards, Maria Mazziotti Gillan, Director, Creative Writing Program, Binghamton University, PO Box 6000, Binghamton, New York 13902-6000. Specify whether you are interested in the Kessler or the Gardner award.