Berssenbrugge Wins 2021 Bollingen Prize

Mei-mei Berssenbrugge has been named the winner of Yale’s 2021 Bollingen Prize for American Poetry. The Bollingen Prize, established by Paul Mellon in 1949, is awarded biennially by the Yale University Library through the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library to an American poet for the best book published during the previous two years, or for lifetime achievement in poetry. The prize includes a cash award of $165,000.

“Mei-mei Berssenbrugge’s poetry explores the permeable boundaries between the human and the natural worlds, as she makes palpable her communion with birds, plants, dolphins, stars, and the beyond,” the judging committee said in its citation. “With her preternaturally long lines, Berssenbrugge composes a syntax of unfolding vistas, stretching our senses of both the plausible and the possible, bringing new modes of affinity and new paths for freedom into view. Berssenbrugge's entanglements of consciousness and perception have created a lyric that moves away from self-centeredness toward the cosmos. A Treatise on Stars is a far-out star flight—profoundly meditative, extravagant, disarming, open.”

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