Henri Cole Awarded Jackson Poetry Prize

April 6, 2012


Poets & Writers, Inc. has announced that Henri Cole is the sixth winner of the Jackson Poetry Prize. The $50,000 prize is given annually to honor an American poet of exceptional talent who deserves wider recognition. 

Mr. Cole was selected by three esteemed judges—the poets Louise Gluck, Marilyn Hacker, and James Tate. There was no application process. Poets were nominated by a panel of their peers who remain anonymous. The judges’ citation for Mr. Cole reads as follows:

Henri Cole has the voluptuary’s fastidious preoccupation with sensation—rather, say, an almost Japanese vocation for connoisseurship. But what is most striking in this work is its composure. Cole’s poems do not strain for attention; for all their casual, anecdotal worldliness and natural diction, they project an eerie gravity. The poems’ shimmering, enigmatic tranquility coexists with intense feeling: they are clear without being stodgy, striking in their poise and delicacy and formal beauty without seeming, ever, mere exquisite diversions. He is an artist of the greatest gifts. 


Henri Cole was born in Fukuoka, Japan, in 1956 and raised in Virginia. He has published eight collections of poetry, including Touch (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2011), and Middle Earth (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2004) – which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. Mr. Cole’s prior awards include the Kingsley Tufts Award, the Rome Prize, the Berlin Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Lenore Marshall Award. He teaches at Ohio State University, is poetry editor of The New Republic, and lives in Boston.

The Jackson Poetry Prize, which is sponsored by Poets & Writers, is made possible by a donation from the Liana Foundation and named for the John and Susan Jackson family. It is one of the most substantial awards given to an American poet. Previous recipients of the Jackson Poetry Prize are James Richardson (2011), Harryette Mullen (2010), Linda Gregg (2009), Tony Hoagland (2008), and Elizabeth Alexander (2007). 


About Poets & Writers

Poets & Writers is the nation’s largest nonprofit literary organization serving creative writers. Founded in 1970, the organization’s mission is to foster the professional development of poets and writers, to promote communication throughout the literary community, and to help create an environment in which literature can be appreciated by the widest possible public.

Poets & Writers accomplishes its mission by publishing Poets & Writers Magazine, an award-winning bi-monthly journal; producing a website (pw.org) that provides trustworthy advice, information, and a lively online community for writers; the Readings/Workshops Program, which pays writers fees for giving readings and leading workshops throughout New York and California, as well as in eight cities outside those states; and sponsoring awards that honor and encourage writers. In addition to the Jackson Poetry Prize, these include the Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award, and the Amy Award. Learn more at pw.org.


For more informaiton about the Jackson Poetry Prize, and about Henri Cole, see the Poets & Writers press release.