Martín Espada to receive Corrington Award at Centenary College

 

March 14, 2017

SHREVEPORT, LA — Jefferson Hendricks, George A. Wilson Eminent Scholars Endowed Chair of American Literature, announced today that poet Martín Espada has been named the recipient of the 2016-2017 John William Corrington Award for Literary Excellence awarded annually by Centenary College of Louisiana.

“With politics dominating public discourse since the recent presidential election, we’re very excited at Centenary to honor one of America’s most engaged and committed political poets – Martín Espada,” says Hendricks. “We look forward to the lively discussions his poetry will, no doubt, provoke.”

Espada will receive the award and give a reading of his poetry on Thursday, March 30 at 7:00 p.m. in Centenary’s Meadows Museum of Art. A reception and book-signing will follow the reading, which is free and open to the public. Espada will also present to several classes and meet with students and faculty during his three-day visit to Centenary. 

Espada is a native of Brooklyn, but now calls Massachusetts home, as a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst where he teaches Creative Writing and Latino poetry. Winner of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and an American Book Award, he has been the recipient of the Shelley Memorial Award, the Robert Creeley Award, the National Hispanic Cultural Center Literary Award, and the PEN/Revson Fellowship. He has published almost twenty books as a poet, editor, essayist, and translator. His latest collection of poems from Norton is called Vivas to Those Who Have Failed (2016). Other books of poems include The Trouble Ball (2011), The Republic of Poetry (2006), Alabanza (2003), A Mayan Astronomer in Hell’s Kitchen (2000), Imagine the Angels of Bread (1996), City of Coughing and Dead Radiators (1993), and Rebellion is the Circle of a Lover’s Hands (1990). A former tenant lawyer in Greater Boston’s Latino community, Espada is now one of America’s most noted poets, a writer whom poet Sandra Cisneros has called the "Pablo Neruda of North American authors."

The John William Corrington Award for Literary Excellence is presented annually by the Department of English at Centenary on behalf of the Centenary student body and faculty to an established, critically-acknowledged writer. Espada will be the 27th Corrington Award winner.

In 1991 Eudora Welty became the first recipient of the Corrington Award when she read her short story "A Worn Path" at Centenary's spring Commencement. Among the other winners of the award have been poets James Dickey, Anthony Hecht, Richard Wilbur, Eleanor Wilner, Eavan Boland, Paul Muldoon, and Yusef Komunyakaa and fiction writers Paul Auster, Richard Powers, Amy Hempel, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Tim O’Brien. 

The award honors a Centenary alumnus and English major, Bill Corrington (1932-1988), who was variously an English professor, an attorney in private practice, and, with his wife, Joyce, the head writer for several television series, including Search for Tomorrow and General Hospital. A prolific poet, he also published four novels, two short novels, and three collections of short stories.

The Corrington Award takes the form of a bronze medal designed by the internationally-exhibited Louisiana sculptor Clyde Connell. The medal depicts two primitive figures, one of them slightly in front of the other, carrying a long object. A presentation box, hand-made by a local craftsperson, accompanies the medal. For more information on the Corrington Award and a full list of past winners, visit centenary.edu/corrington.