Cincinnati Poet Wins Walt Whitman Award

Mar 29, 2018

A Cincinnati writer is the winner of the 2018 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. Emily Skaja's book of poems, Brute, is the winning entry and will be published by Graywolf Press next year.

Judge and poet Joy Harjo writes of Brute:

Brute, though a collection of singular poems, is essentially one long elegiac howl for the end of a relationship. It never lets up—this living—even when the world as we knew it is crushed. So what do we do with the brokenness? We document it, as Emily Skaja has done in Brute. We sing of the brokenness as we emerge from it. We sing the holy objects, the white moths that fly from our mouths, and we stand with the new, wet earth that has been created with our terrible songs.

Skaja is a Ph.D. student and graduate assistant at the University of Cincinnati's creative writing program. She's an associate editor with the Southern Indiana Review.

Credit Sarah Rose Nordgren

The Walt Whitman Award is a $5,000 first-book publication prize. It includes an all-expenses paid trip to Italy where Skaja will have a six-week residency at the Civitella Ranieri Center. She will also be featured on Poets.org and in American Poets magazine.

Click on the titles below to read two of Skaja's other works.

Dear Ruth

Four Hawks