Presented in partnership with the Academy of American Poets
Winners of the Academy of American Poets Walt Whitman Award Emily Skaja and Jenny Xie (Eye Level) celebrate the launch of Skaja's debut collection Brute, published by Graywolf Press.
Skaja’s Brute is a fiery, hypnotic book that confronts the dark questions and menacing silences around gender, sexuality, and violence. Brute arises, brave and furious, from the dissolution of a relationship, showing how such endings necessitate self-discovery and reinvention. The speaker of these poems is a sorceress, a bride, a warrior, a lover, both object and agent, ricocheting among ways of knowing and being known. Each incarnation squares itself up against ideas of feminine virtue and sin, strength and vulnerability, love and rage as it closes in on a hard-won freedom.
Emily Skaja was born and raised in rural Illinois. She holds an MFA from Purdue University and a PhD from the University of Cincinnati. Her poems have appeared in Best New Poets, Blackbird, Crazyhorse, FIELD, and Gulf Coast, among other journals. She is the winner of the Gulf Coast Poetry Prize, an AWP Intro Journals Award, and an Academy of American Poets college prize. She lives in Memphis.
Jenny Xie is the author of EYE LEVEL (Graywolf Press, 2018), finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry, and recipient of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets and the Holmes National Poetry Prize from Princeton University. Her chapbook, NOWHERE TO ARRIVE (Northwestern University Press, 2017) received the Drinking Gourd Prize. Her work has appeared in Poetry, New York Times Magazine, New Republic, and Tin House, among other publications, and she has been supported by fellowships and grants from Kundiman, Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and Poets & Writers. She is on faculty at New York University and lives in New York.