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Auburn Witness Poetry Prize

October 15 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

The museum and the “Southern Humanities Review” present a special virtual reading by the winner of Auburn’s Witness Poetry Prize in tandem with a reading by the contest’s guest judge. The award is given annually for a poem of witness in honor of the late poet and Auburn alumnus, Jake Adam York.

York, who died in 2012 at age 40, was a celebrated poet and fifth-generation Alabamian who first honed his literary gifts as a student working with Auburn’s Department of English faculty. York went on to author four collections of poetry, including the highly lauded 2008 “A Murmuration of Starlings,” an elegiac work in memory of the martyrs of the Civil Rights movement.

A headshot of Paisley Rekdal

About the 2020 Auburn Witness Poetry Prize Judge

Paisley Rekdal is the author of a book of essays, “The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee;” a hybrid-genre photo-text entitled “Intimate;” and five books of poetry: “A Crash of Rhinos”; “Six Girls Without Pant”; “The Invention of the Kaleidoscope”; “Animal Eye,” winner of the UNT Rilke Prize; and “Imaginary Vessels,” which was a finalist for the 2018 Kingsley Tufts Prize. Her latest nonfiction work, “The Broken Country,” won the 2016 AWP Nonfiction Prize. Her newest collection of poetry is “Nightingale.”

Her work has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fulbright Foundation, the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship Trust and various state arts councils. Her poetry has been included in multiple editions of “The Best American Poetry” series, and she was guest editor for “Best American Poetry 2020.” She currently teaches at the University of Utah and is Utah’s poet laureate.

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