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Roger Reeves: 2023 Griffin Poetry Prize Acceptance Speech

“There’s no way I ever could have imagined that looking at those bookshelves would bring me here.”

Watch this moving acceptance speech by Roger Reeves, winner of the 2023 Griffin Poetry Prize for his outstanding collection, Best Barbarian (W.W. Norton).

Reeves expresses his deep gratitude to his grandmother, who encouraged him as a child to explore the bookshelves in the homes she was cleaning, and to his seven-year-old daughter, who inspired him to write a book that “trusts its own beauty.” He also dedicates the prize to Black folks who have had to “secret away their language and their desires” for far too long.

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