Rivard Awarded PEN/New England for Poetry

April 12, 2017

photo of David Rivard

David Rivard has been named winner of the 2017 PEN/New England Award for poetry for his 2016 book, “Standoff.” Rivard is a professor of English at UNH.

American poet Jericho Brown selected “Standoff” for the honor, which recognizes a book by a New England writer judged as best in its genre.

“I feel so deeply honored by this recognition from PEN/New England, touched really, especially when I think of the astonishing community and tradition it represents,” says Rivard. “Last year was, as always, a banner year for books by poets from this region, among them some by my dearest friends in this life — I can’t imagine having written the poems in ‘Standoff’ without their examples and affection in mind.”

Also recognized this year are Matthew Desmond in the nonfiction category for “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” and Robin MacArthur in the fiction category for “Half Wild.”

The awards ceremony was held at the Kennedy Library in Boston, Mass., on April 2, 2017.

Rivard recalls: “As Jennifer Haigh said at the 2016 awards ceremony, ‘For as long as there’s been an America, New England has been home to writers. We are the land of John Updike and John Cheever, Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton, Frederick Douglass and Henry David Thoreau. To say a book is the best by a New England writer is saying a great deal indeed.’ It’s sort of amazing when you think about it that way.”

Past winners of PEN/New England awards include E.B. White, Louise Gluck, Sebastian Junger, Mary Oliver, Tracy Kidder, Donald Hall and Reginald Dwayne Betts.

PEN/New England awards, established in 1975, celebrate New England’s long and illustrious literary tradition by recognizing outstanding fiction, poetry and nonfiction by New England authors.

Rivard is the author of five other books of poetry: “Otherwise Elsewhere,” “Sugartown,” “Bewitched Playground,” “Wise Poison,” winner of the James Laughlin Prize from the Academy of American Poets and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and “Torque,” winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize. He teaches poetry writing to undergraduates and to graduates in the M.F.A. in Writing program at UNH.

photos of Rivard at awards ceremony

TOP: David Rivard receives PEN/New England Award for poetry from poet Jericho Brown. MIDDLE: Awards luncheon program. BOTTOM: Rivard pictured with daughter, Simone Rivard ’16, and wife, Michaela Sullivan, at the awards luncheon at the Kennedy Library on April 2, 2017.


UNH Poet Awarded the Jerome J. Shestack Prize from the American Poetry Review

November 21, 2014

photo of David Rivard

David Rivard has been awarded the Jerome J. Shestack Prize from the American Poetry Review for a group of poems the magazine published in 2013–the prize honors the best poems published in the magazine in the past year. All 13 of the poems are collected in his new book, Standoff, which will appear in early 2016 from Graywolf Press.

The Shestack Prize is named for lawyer and human rights advocate Jerome Shestack, who played a major role in developing the American Poetry Review and gathering support for the magazine. The winners are chosen by the editors of the magazine. The first Shestack Prize was given in 1983. Past recipients include: John Ashbery, Adrienne Rich, Louise Gluck, W.S. Merwin, Lucille Clifton, Robert Creeley, Kwame Dawes, Denise Levertov, and Jorie Graham.

This is the second time Rivard has been honored with this prize. He also won the Shestack Prize in 2009.


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