Stewart Photo by Robert E. Dias
Poetry and the
Fate of the Senses, by poet/critic
Susan Stewart of Princeton University, is the recipient
of the 2004 Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism
in Memory of Newton Arvin.
The $50,000 Capote award, the largest annual cash
prize for literary criticism in the English language,
is administered for the Truman Capote estate by the
Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
Stewart received the prize Sept. 17 at the IMU.
Poetry and the Fate of the Senses examines the role
of the senses in the creation and reception of poetry.
And it also traces the path of the aesthetic experience
in search of an explanation for the role of poetry
in the creation of the shared meaning that is fundamental
to cultural identity.
Stewart’s book, which was published by the
University of Chicago Press in 2002, was selected
for the Capote Award by an international panel of
prominent critics and writers—Terry Castle,
Garrett Stewart, Michael Wood, John Kerrigan, Elaine
Scarry, and William Gass—each of whom nominated
Books of general literary criticism in English,
published during the last four years, are eligible
for nomination. After reading all the nominated books,
each critic ranked the nominees, and the winner was
determined by a tally of the votes. The panelists’ choices
were reviewed and confirmed by Frank Conroy, director
of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
Stewart’s other books of criticism include
On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the
Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection; Crimes
of Writing: Problems in the Containment of Representation; and
Nonsense. Her collected essays on art, The
Open Studio: Essays in Art and Aesthetics, is forthcoming from
the University of Chicago Press.
Stewart, who teaches the history of poetry and aesthetics
at Princeton University, is the recipient of a Lila
Wallace Individual Writer’s Award, two grants
in poetry from the National Endowment in the Arts,
a Pew Fellowship for the Arts, and fellowships from
the Guggenheim Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation.
Past winners of the Capote award include British
scholar P.N. Fairbank; Helen Vendler of Harvard University;
John Felstiner of Stanford University; John Kerrigan
of Cambridge University; pianist/scholar Charles
Rosen of the University of Chicago; Malcolm Bowie
of Oxford University; and Irish Nobel Laureate Seamus
In addition to the administration of the literary
criticism award, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop
involvement with the trust includes the awarding
of Truman Capote Fellowships to UI students in creative
by Winston Barclay