NYS WRITERS INSTITUTE
TWO NEW YORK STATE POETS, WINNERS OF THE WITTER BYNNER POETRY FELLOWSHIP, AWARDED BY THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WILL READ
Friday, October 24, 2008
Monica Youn and Matthew Thorburn, two New York State poets who were recently awarded the Witter Bynner Poetry Fellowship of the Library of Congress by U. S. Poet Laureate Charles Simic, will read from their work on Friday, October 24, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. [NOTE EARLY START TIME] in the Carole Huxley Theatre of the New York State Museum in downtown Albany. The free event, which is open to the public, is sponsored by the New York Center for the Book, the New York State Library, and the New York State Writers Institute.
U. S. Poet Laureate Charles Simic has chosen two New York residents for the Witter Bynner Prize of the Library of Congress. The prize was created in 1980 to support the work of young poets and “new voices in poetry.” Each winner receives a $10,000 fellowship. The New York Center for the Book and the New York State Library are sponsoring a reading by this year’s honorees, Monica Youn and Matthew Thorburn.
The first Korean-American Rhodes Scholar and a former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, Monica Youn is a media and entertainment attorney at NYU Law School’s Brennan Center, as well as a creative writing instructor at Columbia University. She was born and raised in Houston, Texas. Her collections include “Barter” (2003), and the forthcoming “Ignatz,” which is inspired by the mouse of the early 20th century comic strip, “Krazy Kat.” Her poems have appeared in numerous publications and collections, including the “Norton Anthology: Language for a New Century,” (2008), “Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation” (2004), “Fence,” “AGNI,” and “Poetry Review.” She is also an at-large New York delegate pledged to support Barack Obama.
In praise of “Barter,” poet D. A. Powell said, “Not since Plath has poetry so taut and so dangerous graced a first book. Youn’s deft formalism—from spare epigrams to dazzling stereopticons—harbors a Pandora’s box of ills: Fatty Arbuckle propositioning a girl; a junkie threatening us with a tainted hypodermic; Black Death; a child chained in the basement. And deep within the box, hope flutters: ‘I am trying she said//holding out her nailless hands//to prevent the end of the world.’ Within this debut volume, an elegant new voice, dazzling, haunting, immediate.”
Matthew Thorburn, a business writer for an international law firm and founder of the little magazine “Good Foot,” is a past winner of the “Mississippi Review” Prize and the Belfast Poetry Festival’s first Festivo Prize. This past summer he served as a Walter E. Dakin Fellow at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and is a past winner of a fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. His poems have appeared in “Poetry,” “The Paris Review,” and “The American Poetry Review.” His first collection, “Subject to Change” (2004), deals with the mutable nature of language, memory, and meaning in everyday life.
Writing in the “New York Times Book Review,” Stephen Burt said, “Few first books show as much pleasure in words as Matthew Thorburn’s ‘Subject to Change.’” The reviewer for “Verse” magazine said, “The examination of personal nostalgia resonates throughout Matthew Thorburn's ‘Subject to Change,’ and this underlying thread of sadness and remorse and hopeful expectation— a quest for what might have been and might yet be— makes the emotional edge of these poems burn with brilliant clarity.”
For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620
or online at http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.