The Sewanee Review is pleased to announce that Nikky Finney is the recipient of the 2020 Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry.
Nikky Finney is one of the most vital and present voices in American letters, having produced five books of poetry in the last thirty-five years. Finney’s work is grounded in memory, and she traffics in the trauma and joy implicit in our lives and days. Her poems elide the generational and the personal with ample music. They are, therefore, more than taut with vital details; they are alive with nuance and contrast, where doom is rightfully proximate to creation and grace. Her most recent collection, 2011’s Head Off and Split, was honored with the National Book Award for poetry. A new collection, Love Child’s Hotbed of Occasional Poetry: Poems and Artifacts, is forthcoming this April.
University Vice Chancellor John McCardell and Sewanee Review editor Adam Ross will present Finney with the Award at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 12th in Convocation Hall at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, after which Finney will read from her body of work. On Tuesday, February 11th at 4:30 p.m., poet and essayist Ross Gay will lecture on Finney’s poetry in the McGriff Alumni House. Gay is the author of three books of poetry, including Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award and that year’s Kingsley Tufts poetry prize. His collection of short essays, The Book of Delights, was published by Algonquin Books in 2019. He currently serves as Professor of English at Indiana University in Bloomington.