Competition: US & Canada
In Joyelle McSweeney’s dynamic body of work, lyric intensity becomes a means of investigating the world in all its toxic radiance. Her published works span poetry, prose, drama, translation, and criticism. Her debut volume The Red Bird (2001) inaugurated the Fence Modern Poets Series; her verse play Dead Youth, or, the Leaks (2012) inaugurated the Leslie Scalapino Prize for Innovative Women Playwrights; and her most recent double-collection, Toxicon and Arachne (2020), called a “frightening and brilliant book” by the New Yorker, was a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Prize. Her influential volume The Necropastoral: Poetry, Media, Occults (2014) counters conventional ecopoetics by locating aesthetic and political possibility in such signature Anthropocene phenomena as mutation, contagion, contamination, and decay. She is a co-founder of Action Books, an international press which has built readerships for major poets from Asia, Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the US, while centering translators and the art of translation itself. In 2022, McSweeney was recognized with the Arts and Letters Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, honoring exceptional accomplishment in any genre. McSweeney is a Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame.