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Laurie Hertzel is senior editor for books at the Star Tribune, where she has worked since 1996.

Minneapolis poet Danez Smith wins Four Quartets Prize

Danez Smith. Star Tribune file photo

Danez Smith. Star Tribune file photo

“Summer, somewhere,” a sequence of poems by Minneapolis poet Danez Smith, has won the inaugural Four Quartets Prize from the Poetry Society of America and the T.S. Eliot Foundation. The award comes with a $20,000 prize. It is given annually for award is given annually for a unified and complete sequence of poems. This year's judges were Linda Gregerson, Ishion Hutchinson, and Jana Prikryl.
 
The "summer, somewhere" sequence is from Smith’s collection, “Don’t Call Us Dead,” published last fall by Minneapolis’ Graywolf Press. The book was a finalist for a National Book Award.
 
Smith, 28, was born in St. Paul and now lives in Minneapolis. They started out as a spoken-word performance artist and have performed all over the world.  Smith has also won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation and the McKnight Foundation.
 
 

Five Minnesota writers receive McKnight grants

Donte Collins. Photo by Leslie Plesser

Donte Collins. Photo by Leslie Plesser

Spoken-word poet Donte Collins, already honored by the American Academy and named the first Youth Poet Laureate of St. Paul, will receive $25,000 through a McKnight grant for his work. The awards were announced today. He is the author of the poetry collection, "Autopsy."

Four other Minnesota writers will also receive McKnight grants. They are children's writer Yvonne Pearson of Minneapolis, and poets Hieu Minh Nguyen of Minneapolis, Chris Santiago of Bloomington and Lara Mimosa Montes of Brooklyn Center.

Pearson is the author of the picture book "Sadie Braves the Wilderness." Her poetry has appeared in Split Rock Review, Talking Stick, Main Street Rag and other places.

Lara Mimosa Montes is the author of "The Somnambulist." Her poems and essays have appeared by Boston Review, BOMB, and elsewhere.

Hieu Minh Nguyen is the son of Vietnamese immigrants. His debut collection, "This Way to the Sugar," was a finalist for both the Minnesota Book Awards and the Lambda Literary Awards. His second collection of poetry, "Not Here," will be published this month by Coffee House Press (and will be reviewed in the Star Tribune on April 22).
 
Chris Santiago

Chris Santiago

 
Chris Santiago is the author of Tula, winner of the 2016 Lindquist & Vennum Poetry Prize, and published by Milkweed Editions. His book was a finalist for a 2017 Minnesota Book Award. Santiago teaches literature and creative writing at the University of St. Thomas.
 
The honorable mentions in spoken word are Keno Evol (Minneapolis), Jeffrey Skemp (Minneapolis), April Gibson (Edina), and Tatyana (Peuo) Tuy (Edina).
 
The honorable mentions in poetry are Michael Torres (Mankato), Juliet Patterson (Minneapolis), Su Hwang (Minneapolis), and Miriam Karraker (Minneapolis).
 
The honorable mentions in children’s literature are Megan Maynor (Minneapolis), Peter Pearson (Minneapolis), Barbara DaCosta (Minneapolis), and Elizabeth Karre (Saint Paul).
 
The Loft is planning a celebration reading with  Donte Collins and poetry and spoken-word judges Solmaz Sharif and Anis Mojgani, and Donte Collins at 7 p.m. Oct. 6.
 
 

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