Peter Covino, author of the poetry collection, Cut Off the Ears of Winter (2005), published by New Issues, and a finalist for the Publishing Triangle Thom Gunn Award

The PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry of $5,000 is given in odd-numbered years and recognizes the high literary character of the published work to date of a new and emerging American poet of any age and the promise of further literary achievement. Past winners have been Nick Flynn, Richard Matthews, Dana Levin, and Yerra Sugarman.

2007 Judges

April Bernard, Elaine Equi, and John Yau

From the Judges’ Citation

“Images of real and symbolic violence ricochet and reflect off each other in this elegant and disturbing collection. The poems chronicle, among other things, a history of childhood abuse and its after effects, but in a larger sense, they also explore through the lens of myth, art, religion, and popular culture, the underlying and often unacknowledged brutality beneath even mundane events. Covino’s voice is urgent: ‘This is my last dollar, last cigarette, last match,’ but it is also witty, sophisticated, erudite, and street-wise. How can we not pay attention?”

Covino was born in Italy and educated there and in the United States, where he earned an M.S. degree from Columbia School of Social Work. He received his Ph.D. in English/Creative Writing at the University of Utah where he was a Steffensen Cannon Fellow. Covino is also the author of Straight Boyfriend, winner of the 2001 Frank O’Hara Chapbook Prize. His poems have appeared in Colorado Review, Columbia, The Journal, The Paris Review, Verse, and The Penguin Book of Italian American Writing. Currently, he is completing a translation project of Italian poets for an anthology on Contemporary European Poets, Graywolf Press 2007. Covino is also one of the founding editors of the literary press, Barrow Street Inc, and Barrow Street Books (established 1998). He teaches at the University of Rhode Island.