Woodberry Poetry Room Curator Christina Davis has been awarded one of two 2009 Witter Bynner Fellowships by Poet Laureate Kay Ryan. Davis and the other recipient, Mary Szybist, from Portland, Ore., will each receive a $10,000 fellowship, and both will read from their works in a public event at the Library of Congress on Feb. 26.
The fellowship, provided by the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry in conjunction with the Library of Congress, goes to poets whose distinctive talents and craftsmanship merit wider recognition, according to Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.
The program is unlike others in that no applications are taken; the poet laureate selects the recipients.
Commenting on Davis’ selection, Ryan said, “Christina Davis knows when not to know, but simply transmit the compelling illogic of what we really feel. Her poems are filled with room for amazement.”
The author of “Forth A Raven” (2006), Davis is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Oxford. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Jubilat, New Republic, Pleiades, Paris Review, and other publications. She is the recipient of residencies from Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony and of several Pushcart Prize nominations.
Davis came to Harvard in 2008 to assume the position of curator of the Woodberry Poetry Room, a division of Harvard College Library. Davis previously worked at the Poets House in New York, a 50,000-volume library and literary center.
In addition to the fellowship, Davis was recently nominated for a prestigious PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award. The award, given every other year, recognizes the high literary character of the published work of a new and emerging American poet of any age, as well as the promise of further literary achievement. Poets nominated for the award may not have published more than one book of poetry. Past winners include Peter Covino, Nick Flynn, Richard Matthews, Dana Levin, and Yerra Sugarman.