UMW Arrington Poet-in-Residence Wins Prize for Poetry Collection

University of Mary Washington Arrington Poet-in-Residence Allison Seay ’02 has received the 2012 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize in Poetry.

The award is a collaboration between Persea Books and the Lexi Rudnitsky Poetry Project to sponsor the annual publication of a poetry collection by an American woman poet who has yet to publish a full-length book of poems. The winner receives an advance of $1,000 and publication of her collection by Persea Books. Seay won the prize for her collection of poetry, “To See the Queen,” scheduled for publication in April 2013.

As the Arrington Poet-in-Residence, Seay teaches the advanced poetry workshop and the creative writing seminar in poetry at Mary Washington. A Midlothian, Va., native, she is the recipient of the 2011 Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship, one of the largest awards offered to aspiring poets in the United States, and two fellowships from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her work has been featured in numerous publications, including Poetry, Crazyhorse and The Southern Review.

A contributing editor for The Hollins Critic, Seay previously was a visiting professor at Lynchburg College, assistant director of the MFA Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and associate editor of The Greensboro Review. She received a master of fine arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a bachelor’s degree in English from Mary Washington.

An independent, literary publishing house founded in 1975, Persea Books “aims to publish works that endure by meeting high standards of literary merit and relevance,” according to its website. Lexi Rudnitsky, the namesake of the prize, was a lecturer at Queens College and Fordham University and associate director of undergraduate writing at Columbia University prior to her death in 2005. The author of a book of poems, “A Doorless Knocking into Night,” Rudnitsky was the recipient of the Milton Kessler Memorial Prize for Poetry.

The University of Mary Washington is a premier, selective public liberal arts and sciences university in Virginia, highly respected for its commitment to academic excellence, strong undergraduate liberal arts and sciences program, and dedication to life-long learning. The university, with a total enrollment of nearly 5,000, features colleges of business, education and arts and sciences, and three campuses, including a residential campus in Fredericksburg, Va., a second one in nearby Stafford and a third in Dahlgren, Va., which serves as a center of development of educational and research partnerships between the Navy, higher education institutions and the region’s employers. In recent years, the university has seen its academic reputation garner national recognition in numerous selective guidebooks, including Forbes, the Fiske Guide to Colleges and the Princeton Reviews edition of “The Best 376 Colleges.”

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News release prepared by:  Brynn Boyer                                

About Brynn Boyer

Brynn Boyer is assistant director of media and public relations and a 2010 graduate of UMW.