The Paterson Poetry Prize

I want to express my humble thanks to the Paterson Poetry Prize administrators, authors, and committee for awarding my 2005 poetry collection, My Nature is Hunger: New & Selected Poems 1989-2004 (Curbstone Press/Rattle Edition) with the 2006 Paterson Poetry Prize.

I received a phone call from Sandy Taylor, publisher of Curbstone Press, and a letter from Maria Gillan , the long-time Director of the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College, Paterson, New Jersey. The prize includes $1,000 and a trip to Paterson to receive the award and to read.

It’s hard to get such recognition, due largely to the vast number of worthy poetry books being published around the country today. Most of these are with small and mid-size presses, the heart of poetry publishing in this country. I’m deeply honored.

I also edit a poetry press, Tia Chucha Press, which I founded in Chicago in 1989. Since then, we have published around 40 major poetry collections and anthologies, three chapbooks, and a CD. Tia Chucha Press, which became part of the Guild Complex in 1991, is now connected with the not-for-profit workshop space and publishing center, Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural (that I also helped create in the San Fernando Valley section of Los Angeles).

To commemorate our 16 years of publication, in December Tia Chucha Press came out with Dream of a Word: The Tia Chucha Press Poetry Anthology, edited by Quraysh Ali Lansana and Toni Asante Lightfoot.

We hope to spread the word about this great collection that features all our authors, including Elizabeth Alexander, Terrance Hayes, A. Van Jordan, Patricia Smith, Rohan B Preston, Sterling D. Plumpp, Michael Warr, Angela Shannon, Marvin Tate, Cin Salach, Carlos Cumpian, Mary Kathleen Hawley, Lisa Buscani, Jean Howard, Dwight Okita, Tony Fitzpatrick, Nick Carbo, Kyoko Mori, and many more.

There is also a study guide in the back of the book for each of the poems—something we did to help poetry, literatures, and English classrooms in high schools, colleges, universities, and writing workshops.

I also want to mention that in 2005 we did the first poetry book of ariel robello called My Sweet Unconditional. This year, we're publishing Patricia Spears Jones' Femme du Monde (out this month) and Alfred Arteaga's Frozen Accident (due in the fall). All our books are distributed by Northwestern University Press .

April is National Poetry Month. Please support your local poets. Buy poetry books. Help make poetry central to our culture, our spiritual life, and our communities.


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