The 2011 PEN /Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry went to Ishion Hutchinson for Far District (Peepal Tree Press Ltd.).

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.

2011 Judges

Carolyn Forché, Kimiko Hahn, Terrance Hayes

From The Judges’ Citation

“Far District is a classic, which is to say a rare and exemplary first book. It reminds us of the power of individual poems bound by genuine insight at a time when so many debut poetry books seem inspired by flash, project, and novelty. This book is striking for the way Ishion Hutchinson’s gorgeously textured language—shanty-zinc, asthmatic whirl, poincians—stretches over far-reaching narratives of landscape and culture. With an ear ‘tuned to the blue above and below’ he captures the physical rhythms of his native Jamaica as well as the broader, metaphysical rhythms of distance and displacement, ‘of [travelling] the narrow bridge separating’ past and present. One sees in Far District a lyrical concreteness of discernment, a warmth of intelligence, an elegant urgency—one sees a poet setting what will be the first of many great books on the shelf. We are fortunate to recognize Ishion Hutchinson at the outset of what will be a distinguished career.”