St. Joseph’s College (SJC) is proud to announce that one of its most distinguished alumnae, Marie Ponsot ’40, was the latest recipient of the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, which is awarded annually to a poet whose lifelong accomplishments warrant extraordinary attention. The prize was presented at the Pegasus Awards ceremony, along with the announcement of the new Children’s Poet Laureate, at the Poetry Foundation on Monday, June 10.
“St. Joseph's College is honored to join the many fans of our alumna, Marie Ponsot, as she is awarded the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize,” said SJC President S. Elizabeth A. Hill, C.S.J., J.D. “Marie’s poetry has added grace and beauty to our lives for many years, and she is herself a joy to know. Her strong spirit and gentle manner, her keen intelligence and openness to wonder, and her delightful sense of humor, bring richness and depth to every encounter and conversation. We applaud her work and her life.”
Established in 1986, the prize is sponsored and administered by the Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. Born in 1921 in New York, Ms. Ponsot has published six poetry collections, including The Bird Catcher (1998), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a finalist for the 1999 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. Her other collections include Easy (2009), Springing (2002), The Green Dark (1988), Admit Impediment (1981) and True Minds (1957). With Rosemary Deen, Ponsot co-authored a guide to teaching writing, Beat Not the Poor Desk (1982). She has translated more than 30 books into English from French for children and adults, including Love & Folly: Selected Fables and Tales of La Fontaine (2002) and The Golden Book of Fairy Tales (1958).
Ms. Ponsot’s honors include a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Shaughnessy Medal of the Modern Language Association, the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Prize and the Lilly Prize. In 2010, she was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Ms. Ponsot has taught at New York University and Columbia University, and most recently, her pedagogy on creative writing was adopted as the guiding philosophy of the Writers Foundry MFA program at SJC. She lives in New York City.