My family friend and genocide activist Peter Balakian has just won a Pulitzer Prize for poetry!
From a press release (here) about the award, in the Colgate News (he teaches at Colgate University):
In making the announcement, the Pulitzer committee cited the collection’s title poem, which takes readers back to 2009 when Balakian worked to exhume the bodies of Armenian genocide victims, buried for generations in the desert of Syria. “In the dynamic, sensual language of these poems, we are reminded that the history of atrocity, trauma, and forgetting is both global and ancient,” the committee wrote, “but we are reminded, too, of the beauty and richness of culture and the resilience of love.”
“All of Peter’s work is marked by a profound ethical concern and an appreciation for how the past indelibly marks the present,” said English professor Constance Harsh, interim dean of the faculty and provost.
You can read one of his poems, "Ellis Island" here, at Poetry Foundation:
The tide’s a Bach cantata.
The beach is the swollen neck of Isaac.
The tide’s a lamentation of white opals.
The beach is free. The Coke machine rusted out.
Here is everything you’ll never need:
hemp-cords, curry-combs, jade and musk,
a porcelain cup blown into the desert—
stockings that walked to Syria in 1915.