John Hollander Wins Warren-Brooks Award

John Hollander, the Sterling Professor of English at Yale, will be this year’s recipient of the Robert Penn Warren-Cleanth Brooks Award for his 1997 book, “The Work of Poetry” (Columbia University Press). The award will be presented during a ceremony at Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green in April.

The Robert Penn Warren-Cleanth Brooks Award honors two scholars, both natives of Kentucky who taught in the Yale English department. Among their many accomplishments, they co-authored two textbooks: “Understanding Poetry” (1938) and “Understanding Fiction” (1943), works that helped establish an approach to literature based on close reading of texts. The award that bears their name was established in 1995 through an endowed fund by the late Eleanor Clark Warren and the estate of Robert Penn Warren. It is given annually by the Advisory Group of the Center for Robert Penn Warren Studies at Western Kentucky University for outstanding literary criticism originally published in English in the United States. It is given in those years when a book, or other worthy publication, appears that exemplifies the Warren-Brooks effort in spirit, scope, and integrity.

An elected jury of four Advisory Group members, chaired by James A. Grimshaw Jr., selected the winner.

Poet, literary critic and scholar, Hollander has received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, the Bollingen Prize and the Levinson Prize for Poetry, among other honors. His first poetry collection, “A Crackling of Thorns,” was selected by W.H. Auden in 1958 for publication in the Yale Series of Younger Poets. Since then, 21 collections of Hollander’s poetry have been published to considerable acclaim. He has authored numerous books of criticism, including “Rhyme’s Reason,” “A Guide To English Verse,” and “The Gazer’s Spirit.” Hollander is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Hollander is the third recipient of the Robert Penn Warren-Cleanth Brooks Award. Lewis P. Simpson, the Boyd Professor Emeritus at Louisiana State University, received the initial award for his book, “The Fable of the Southern Write.” Mark Royden Winchell, professor, Clemson University, received the 1996 award for his book, “Cleanth Brooks and the Rise of Modern Criticism.”

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