Newswise — Peter Campion’s “The Lions” has won the 13th annual Levis Reading Prize from Virginia Commonwealth University for the best first or second book of poetry published in 2009.
Campion will receive the award at a literary conference honoring the late poet Larry Levis – the namesake of the Levis Prize – which is scheduled for Sept. 22-24 at VCU. Campion, who will receive an honorarium of $1,500, will read from his work in the conference’s final event on Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. at VCU’s Grace Street Theater, 930 W. Grace St.
Campion, an assistant professor at Auburn University, is the author of a previous collection of poetry, “Other People,” which was published in 2005. The University of Chicago Press published both “Other People” and “The Lions.” Campion’s poetry and prose have appeared recently in ArtNews, the Boston Globe, Modern Painters, the New York Times, the New Republic, Poetry, Slate and the Yale Review. Campion has received a George Starbuck Lectureship at Boston University, a Wallace Stegner Fellowship and Jones Lectureship at Stanford University, a Pushcart Prize and a Civitella Ranieri Individual Artist’s Fellowship. He edits the journal Literary Imagination.
The Levis Reading Prize is presented each year in honor of Levis, the distinguished poet and teacher who was a VCU professor until his death in 1996. The award was created to encourage poets early in their careers by recognizing the best first or second book of poetry published each year.
This year the awarding of the prize coincides with “Larry Levis: A Celebration Conference,” a three-day tribute to the life and writing of Levis that will mark the acquisition of his papers by the James Branch Cabell Library at VCU. The gathering of poets, editors and literary commentators will include Philip Levine, David St. John, Michael Collier, Claudia Emerson, Ed Ochester, Stanley Plumly, Dave Smith, Ellen Bryant Voigt and David Wojahn, among many others.
The Levis Reading Prize is presented on behalf of VCU’s MFA in Creative Writing Program. Sponsors include the VCU Department of English, James Branch Cabell Library Associates, Friends of the Library, the VCU Libraries, the VCU Honors College, Barnes & Noble @ VCU Bookstore and the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences, with additional funding provided by the family of Larry Levis.
Previous winners of the Levis Reading Prize include Katie Ford for “Colosseum,” Matthew Donovan (“Vellum”), Joshua Weiner (“From the Book of Giants”), Ron Slate (“The Incentive of the Maggot”), Spencer Reece (“The Clerk’s Tale”), David Daniel (“Seven-Star Bird”), Susan Aizenberg (“Muse”), Steve Scafidi (“Sparks from a Nine-Pound Hammer”), Nick Flynn (“Some Ether”), Joel Brouwer (“Exactly What Happened”), Sandra Alcosser (“Except by Nature”) and Belle Waring (“Dark Blonde”).
About VCU and the VCU Medical Center: Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located on two downtown campuses in Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 32,000 students in 211 certificate and degree programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-nine of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University compose the VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see www.vcu.edu.