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David Rigsbee receives Oscar Arnold Young Award

The Red Tower by David RigsbeeIn 2011, Poetry Council of North Carolina received more entries than ever for the Oscar Arnold Young Award. David Rigsbee’s collection The Red Tower: New and Selected Poems won “outstanding book of poems published by a North Carolina poet in 2010.”

Final judge Paul Nelson, former Director of the Ohio University Creative Writing Program and award-winning author of six collections of poetry, selected Rigsbee’s book. Nelson said that it was the most “unique and fully realized” of the candidates. Rigsbee will be the featured reader on Poetry Day, and his work will appear in the Council’s annual awards anthology Bay Leaves.

Rigsbee edits for The Cortland Review and has received fellowships and prizes from the National Endowment for the Arts, The National Endowment for the Humanities, the Academy of American Poets, and the Pushcart Prize Anthology. Amongst his 18 books and chapbooks, Rigsbee’s collection The Pilot House won the 2009 Black River Poetry Prize. School of the Americas is due out from Black Lawrence Press in 2012.

Recently Rigsbee and his wife Jill Bullitt, the painter, discovered “Jill’s Toes,” a poem about Jill by her mother Carolyn Kizer. In 1985, Kizer won the Pulitzer Prize for her poetry volume Yin.

Constantly struggling against the patriarchy, Kizer taught poetry at the University of Iowa, Washington University, and Stanford University and translated Japanese, Chinese, and Urdu poetry. She also acted as first director of literature programs at the National Endowment for the Arts.

“Jill’s Toes” was published for the first time in the spring/summer 2011 issue of the journal Poetry Northwest, which Kizer co-founded in 1959. After being moved and suspended, Poetry Northwest has been revived and now has offices at Everett Community College in the Puget Sound area.

Bullitt’s passion for art and Rigsbee’s dedication to poetry carry on Kizer’s legacy.

David Rigsbee’s The Red Tower is available from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite retail or online bookseller.