M.F.A. Alumnus Chosen as Yale Poet

Posted: August 6, 2003 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Tara Laskowski

Poet Peter Streckfus, M.F.A. Creative Writing ’00, was recently awarded the oldest annual literary award in the United States. His manuscript, The Cuckoo, was chosen by judge Louise Glück as the winner of this year’s Yale Series of Younger Poets competition.

Streckfus, chief writer and publicist for the San Francisco Art Institute, feels incredibly fortunate to have won the competition. “There are many, many fine poets writing today,” he says. “As a working poet, one continues to labor, putting oneself in the path of such fortune as well as one can. One hopes to be hit by the good car.”

The winning manuscript is a revised version of the M.F.A. thesis he wrote at George Mason. Streckfus describes his poetry as “the boundary between the narrative, making gestures at story, and the lyric.” The book also was a finalist for the Academy of American Poets Walt Whitman Award earlier this year.

Streckfus earned a B.A. in English and philosophy with a minor in natural sciences from the University of Texas at Austin. His poems have appeared in journals such as Matrix, Beloit Poetry Journal, Natural Bridge, Pleiades, and Slope.

The Yale Series of Younger Poets, awarded since 1919, champions the most promising new American poets under the age of 40. Glück is the first female judge in the history of the series. Muriel Rukeyser, W.S. Merwin, Adrienne Rich, John Ashbery, John Hollander, James Tate, and George Mason’s Carolyn Forche and Peter Klappert have all won the Younger Poets prize.

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