Yaddo Poet Named Witter Bynner Fellow
by Jo Eldredge Morrissey
Washington, D.C. (February 4, 2009) – Yaddo writer Christina Davis is one of two poets selected by Poet Laureate Kay Ryan for the 2009 Witter Bynner Fellowships, it was announced Monday.
Ms. Davis, who lives in Boston, and her fellow honoree, Mary Szybist, will be introduced at the Library of Congress on Thursday, February 26, and will read their poetry at 6:45 p.m. that evening in the Montpelier Room on the sixth floor of the Library’s James Madison Building, 101 Independence Avenue S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public; tickets are not required.
Each of the fellowship winners receives $10,000 from the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry in conjunction with the Library of Congress. The Witter Bynner Fellowships are intended to support the writing of poetry. Only two things are asked of the fellows – that they organize a reading in their hometown and participate in a reading and recording session at the Library of Congress. Applications are not taken for the fellowships; the Poet Laureate makes the selection.
"These fellowships – to poets whose distinctive talents and craftsmanship merit wider recognition – provide a wonderful way for the Laureate, the Library, and the Witter Bynner Foundation to encourage poets and poetry," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.
Commenting on her selections, Ms. Ryan said: "Christina Davis knows when not to know, but simply transmit the compelling illogic of what we really feel. Her poems are filled with room for amazement." Of Ms. Szybist, she said: "Mary Szybist’s lovely musical touch is light and exact enough to catch the weight and grind of love. This is a hard paradox to master as she does."
Ms. Davis is the author of Forth A Raven (2006). Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Jubilat, New Republic, Pleiades, Paris Review, and other publications. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Oxford, she is the recipient of several Pushcart Prize nominations. Ms. Davis, who has had four Yaddo residencies, is curator of poetry at the Woodberry Poetry Room at Harvard University.