On December 9th DANIEL HOFFMAN learned that he has been given the Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry. (He is the seventeenth poet to receive this honor.) Dan recently visited Sewanee, Tennessee, for the presentation of the award.
As almost everyone at Penn knows, Dan was for many years a member of the English department. In the mid-1960s he taught the first creative writing workshop here - and lead the Creative Writing Program until his retirement.
The $10,000 prize, awarded to an American poet to honor the work of a distinguished career, is presented by the Sewanee Review, the nation's oldest literary quarterly. The award was established in 1986 through a bequest to the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., by K.P.A. Taylor, brother of the poet Conrad Aiken. Previous winners of the prize have included Richard Wilbur, Gwendolyn Brooks, Maxine Kumin and Wendell Berry.
Last year, when Dan's book, DARKENING WATER, was published, the Writers House hosted a Danfest, a wonderful occasion. Greg Djanikian introduced Dan and here is the text of that introduction:
And below is a biographical profile of Dan.
Dan Hoffman has published ten books of poetry including Beyond Silence: Selected Shorter Poems 1948-2003 (Louisiana State University Press, 2003); Darkening Water (2002); Middens of the Tribe (1995); Hang-Gliding from Helicon: New and Selected Poems, 1948-1988, winner of the 1988 Paterson Poetry Prize; Brotherly Love, (1981) a National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award nominee; The Center of Attention (1974); Broken Laws (1970); Striking the Stones (1968); The City of Satisfactions (1963); A Little Geste and Other Poems (1960); and An Armada of Thirty Whales (1954), chosen by W. H. Auden for the Yale Series of Younger Poets. Hoffman adapted Brotherly Love as the libretto for Ezra Laderman's oratorio (2000), and published his translation from the Italian of Ruth Domino's A Play of Mirrors (2002). He is the author of Zone of the Interior: A Memoir, 1942-1947 (2000) and seven volumes of criticism, which include Words to Create a World: Interviews, Essays, and Reviews on Contemporary Poetry (1993); Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe (1971), which was nominated for a National Book Award; Barbarous Knowledge: Myth in the Poetry of Yeats, Graves, and Muir (1967); Form and Fable in American Fiction (1961); and The Poetry of Stephen Crane (1957). Hoffman has received the Hazlett Memorial Award, the Memorial Medal of the Maygar P.E.N. for his translations of contemporary Hungarian poetry, grants from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1973 to 1974 (the appointment now called the Poet Laureate) and is a Chancellor Emeritus of The Academy of American Poets. From 1988 to 1999 Hoffman was Poet in Residence at St. John the Divine, where he administered the American Poets' Corner. He is the Felix E. Schelling Professor of English Emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania and lives in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.