Mary Kinzie, professor of English and director of the English major in writing at Northwestern University, has received the 2008 O.B. Hardison, Jr. Poetry Prize. The prize from the Shakespeare Folger Library is the only major American prize to recognize a poet for teaching as well as writing.

“Mary Kinzie reaches beyond established procedures and habits of feeling in poems distinguished by investigative precision, openness to process, heartbreaking lyricism and keen intellection,” said one of the judges of the 2008 prize. The prize carries a $10,000 award.

Kinzie is the author of seven collections of poetry: “California Sorrow,” “Drift,” “Ghost Ship, “Autumn Eros and Other Poems,” “Summers of Vietnam and Other Poems,” “Masked Women” and “The Threshold of the Year.”

Her work includes two volumes of critical essays, “The Cure of Poetry in an Age of Prose: Moral Essays on the Poet’s Calling” and “The Judge is Fury: Dislocation of Form in Poetry.” She also is author of “A Poet’s Guide to Poetry,” a critical handbook on poetry and prosody. Kinzie’s essay on Iris Murdoch appeared in March 2001 as the introduction to the Penguin reissue of Murdoch’s Booker Prize-winning 1978 novel “The Sea, the Sea.”

Kinzie has received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, Illinois Arts Council and MacDowell Colony. In 2005-06, she spent a year as a senior fellow in poetry at the National Humanities Center.

Publishers Weekly has written that “Kinzie’s strong opinions, fierce emotions, and serious attention both to visual details and to philosophical claims have won attention both for her poetry and ambitiously minatory literary criticism.”

Kinzie teaches poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction in Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.

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