Eleanor Ross Taylor Wins $100,000 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize

By Jason Boog Comment

9780807134122.jpgPoet Eleanor Ross Taylor won the 2010 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize today, honoring the 50-year career of a quiet poet.

In all, Taylor has published six books, including Captive Voices from LSU Press. The Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize was launched in 1986, organized by the Poetry Foundation. In 25 years, over $1,800,000 has been awarded to poets. This year’s prize will be given out at the Arts Club of Chicago on Tuesday, May 18.

Poetry magazine editor Christian Wiman had this statement: “Until the excellent selected poems, Captive Voices, was published by LSU Press last year, virtually all of Taylor’s work was out of print. Her slow production (six books in 50 years), dislike of poetry readings (‘It seems to me that it’s all for the person and not the poetry’), and unfashionable fidelity to narrative and clarity haven’t helped matters. And yet, as is so often the case, what’s been bad for the career has been good for the poems. With their intricately odd designs and careful, off-kilter music, their vital characters and volatile silences, the poems have a hard-won, homemade fatedness to them. You can feel their future.”