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10-08_cheney_1Colin Cheney ’96 was awarded a prestigious 2010 Pushcart Prize—a prize that has honored some of America’s foremost writers since 1976—for his poem “Lord God Bird.” Winners of the Pushcart Prize appear in an annual anthology of stories, poems, essays and memoirs selected from hundreds of small magazines and presses throughout the world. The Pushcart Prize collection series was founded by Bill Henderson and a group of founding editors that included Paul Bowles, Ralph Ellison, Joyce Carol Oates and Reynolds Price.

The annual Pushcart Prize collection has been called “The ex-officio house organ for the American literary cosmos,” by the Chicago Tribune. The New York Times calls the publication “a distinguished annual literary event.” Each Pushcart Prize edition features works by about sixty authors from dozens of presses. Little magazine and small book press editors may make up to six nominations each year for the collection, and selections are chosen by Pushcart’s staff of distinguished Contributing Editors.

Writers who were first noticed in Pushcart collections include: Raymond Carver, Tim O’Brien, Jayne Anne Phillips, Charles Baxter, Andre Dubus, Susan Minot, Mona Simpson, John Irving and Rick Moody.

Colin’s poem is from his first book, Here Be Monsters. It was selected as a winner of the 2009 National Poetry Series Open Competition, and was released in 2010 by the University of Georgia Press.  

In choosing Here Be Monsters for the National Poetry Series award, David Wojahn said, “Colin Cheney writes with a searching urgency that is frustratingly rare in contemporary poetry. His keen awareness of how personal history and public history inextricably commingle aligns him to some of the most demanding and ambitious masters of the past half-century, most notably Oppen and Lowell. But Cheney is very much his own man, both for the range of his concerns and for a sense of music that is both memorable and refreshingly quirky. Here Be Monsters is the sort of debut from which important careers arise.”

In 2006, Colin was awarded a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation.  His poems have appeared widely in such journals as American Poetry Review, Poetry,Gulf Coast, Ploughshares, Crazyhorse, Shenandoah, and Kenyon Review.