Authors / Awards & Prizes

Grady Chambers Wins Inaugural Max Ritvo Poetry Prize

Milkweed Staff — 12/15/2017

Milkweed Editions, in partnership with Riva Ariella Ritvo-Slifka and the Alan B. Slifka Foundation, is pleased to announce that Grady Chambers is the winner of the inaugural Max Ritvo Poetry Prize. For his manuscript, North American Stadiums, chosen by acclaimed poet and judge Henri Cole, Chambers will receive $10,000 and publication by Milkweed Editions in June 2018.

“This powerful, absorbing first book has the sound and feel of a younger generation,” says Henri Cole. “Brilliant language, intelligence, and feeling make North American Stadiums matter. Factory lights, border patrol, gin, handguns, smoke stacks, and war are the geography of many of these eloquent poems, but the solitary poet is always scrutinizing the world with the eyes of a lover.”

Chambers holds an MFA from Syracuse University and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. He has received fellowships from the Norman Mailer Center and the New York State Summer Writers Institute. His poems have appeared in Diode Poetry; Forklift, Ohio; Ninth Letter, New Ohio Review, and elsewhere. Learn more about Chambers»

Publisher and CEO Daniel Slager says, “I can think of no better way to honor Max Ritvo and his legacy than a first-book poetry prize, which rewards outstanding accomplishment in the art form he excelled. Nearly a thousand poets submitted manuscripts in this contest, and the quality of them confirms our sense that American poetry is livelier than ever. Congratulations to Grady Chambers for emerging from this mix, and hearty thanks to Henri Cole and the poets who served as first readers. We are very excited to publish North American Stadiums in 2018.”

Ruth Awad, Graham Barnhart, Lauren Cook, Kyle Dacuyan, Allison Pitinii Davis, Rebecca Okrent, Matt Sumpter, and Jordan Zandi were selected by Henri Cole to serve as paid first readers for the prize.

Announced in June, Milkweed and the Alan B. Slifka Foundation have established the Max Ritvo Poetry Prize to honor the legacy of one of the most original and accomplished poets to debut in recent years, and to reward outstanding emerging poets for years to come. Each year, the winning poet will receive publication by Milkweed and a purse of $10,000, making the Max Ritvo Poetry Prize the most lucrative first-book prize in the nation. Entries to next year’s prize will be open from April 1–May 31, 2018. Learn more about the Max Ritvo Poetry Prize here»