Devon Walker-Figueroa Wins the Levis Reading Prize From Virginia Commonwealth University

Devon Walker-Figueroa is the winner of the 2022 Levis Reading Prize awarded annually for the best debut or second book of poetry published in the previous calendar year. It is given out by the faculty of the master of fine arts in creative writing program at Virginia Commonwealth University. The prize honors the memory of poet Larry Levis, who was a faculty member at Virginia Commonwealth University at the time of his death in 1996.

Walker-Figueroa was honored for her poetry collection Philomath (Milkweed Editons, 2021). The collection melds ancient folklore with personal storylines that revolve around her childhood in the ghost towns of Kings Valley and nearby Philomath in the Oregon Coast Range. The book was also shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle’s 2021 John Leonard Prize for Best First Book.

Walker-Figueroa received her education from Cornell University; Bennington College; the Iowa Writers’ Workshop; and New York University, where she was the Jill Davis Fellow. She is a 2022-2023 Amy Lowell Travelling Scholar. She has taught undergraduate creative writing at the University of Iowa, the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and New York University, as well as composition courses at St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn.

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