Susan Briante of Arizona State University Wins the 2021 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism

University of Arizona English Professor Susan Briante is the winner of the 2021 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism from the Poetry Foundation. The award, which includes a cash prize, honors the best book-length works of criticism published in the prior calendar year. The honor can be awarded for biographies, essay collections, and critical editions that consider the subject of poetry or poets.

Briante, who is the director of the master of fine arts program in creative writing at Arizona State, received the award for Defacing the Monument (Noemi Press, 2020), a series of essays on immigration, archives, aesthetics, and the state. The essays examine migration and the fraught bureaucracies of the U.S.-Mexico border. Publisher’s Weekly calls the collection “a superb examination of the ethical issues facing artists who tell others’ stories.”

“It’s an honor to be recognized by the Poetry Foundation alongside the other award winners and finalists,” Briante said. ”It’s especially meaningful to receive this recognition for a book that comes out of my work with University of Arizona students and community organizations on the U.S.-Mexico border. It has been my hope that Defacing the Monument could highlight the efforts of other writers, artists, and activists who confront some of today’s most pressing social issues including the ongoing humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. I hope this award draws more attention to their labor. I would like to think it honors them as well. “

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