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Gerald Stern is the author of numerous books of poetry, most recently Everything is Burning. Among his many honors are the Lamont Prize, the National Book Award, a Guggenheim fellowship, three NEA awards, a fellowship from the Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Ruth Lilly Prize. Stern taught at the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa until his retirement in 1995, and has served as a member of the faculty at Columbia University, New York University, Sarah Lawrence College, and the University of Pittsburgh. Today he lives in New Jersey and continues to write both poetry and prose.

See also: Griffin Trustee Robin Robertson, Griffin Poetry Prize 2004 shortlisted poets Leslie Greentree and David Kirby, and Griffin Poetry Prize 2003 shortlisted poet Gerald Stern were joined by the 2005 Canadian and International winners Roo Borson and Charles Simic on a triumphal tour to the Dublin Writers Festival in June, 2005. Leslie, David and Roo kept a lively blog of the trip, which you can read here.

American Sonnets

W. W. Norton & Company
2003 Shortlist
United States

Judges’ Citation

Gerald Stern’s poems are astonishing; they have profound suppleness, tenderness, and power.

Gerald Stern’s poems are astonishing; they have profound suppleness, tenderness, and power. When we finish one of these American sonnets, we laugh or cry out loud, incredulous. Each one seems to begin in pure freedom, then the last line, like a magnet, turns out to have been pulling the whole poem toward itself with the momentum of history and eros. The work is both intimate and inclusive, and the implied reader seems to be unusually present to the speaker’s spirit! The poems are alive with passion and with ironic energy, an irony so in love with the earth it seems to need a new name – milk and honey irony – and yet the tragic knowledge of the world here is hard as iron. This is the great art of a fierce mourning ecstatic, whose genius nourishes us.