In anticipation of their annual literary festival, the Asian American Writers’ Workshop has announced the winners of its 2009 Asian American Literary Awards. In the poetry category, Sesshu Foster’s World Ball Notebook took top honors, while Monica Ferrell’s Beasts for the Chase and Jeffrey Yang’s An Aquarium were named as finalists. The contest was judged by poet Cathy Park Hong, Stanford professor Stephen H. Sohn, and Williams College professor Dorothy Wang.
It’s always exciting to me when contemporary collections of poetry are given national attention in this way. And as an MFA student working on my first book-length project, I’m especially encouraged by the selection of Ferrell’s and Yang’s collections as finalists, since they are both first books. I had the pleasure of reading An Aquarium this past summer and now that these awards have been announced, I’ll definitely be adding World Ball Notebook and Beasts for the Chase to my reading list for the upcoming holidays. Congratulations to all three poets, and kudos to the AAWW for continuing to perpetuate an image of Asian American literature as a living, evolving body of works rather than as a row of dusty volumes sitting quietly on some library shelf.
The 2009 Asian American Literary Awards will be presented this Saturday at the AAWW’s Page Turner festival. Tickets start at $5. If you live near NYC or will be in NYC this weekend, we (the editors) highly recommend that you check out at least a few of the events on their exciting roster of panels and readings.