Michael Bazzett, a Minneapolis poet, has won the third annual Lindquist & Vennum Prize from Milkweed Editions for his manuscript, “You Must Remember This.” The prize, which includes $10,000 and publication, is one of the top poetry prizes in the country.
Bazzett is a graduate of Carleton College and teaches at the Blake School; his work has appeared in Ploughshares, Pleiades and the Best New Poets series. This year’s competition drew more than 150 submissions and was judged by poet and critic Kevin Prufer, who called Bazzett’s manuscript, “frightening, hilarious, and dark.”
"The big hinge for me was receiving a sabbatical from Blake, for the 2007-2008 school year," Bazzett said in a statement to Milkweed. "I will always be grateful for that year: I essentially read & wrote full-time, for a year. It was the first time writing had been at the center of my life. ... I moved with my family to San Miguel de Allende, in central Mexico, where we could live very well on half-salary, and I just started delving in. In the spring of 2008 I had a pile of poems and other half-finished projects, and I started sending work around in earnest; I won the Bechtel Prize that year and Mark Strand picked one of my poems for Best New Poets 2008."
Milkweed will publish his prize-winning manuscript in November.
Bazzett is the second Minnesota poet in three years to win the prize; Patricia Kirkpatrick of St. Paul won the inaugural award in 2012. Last year’s award was won by Rebecca Dunham of Milwaukee.