U.Va. Poet Lisa Russ Spaar Wins Weinstein Prize

October 17, 2011 — Lisa Russ Spaar, an English professor in the University of Virginia's College of Arts & Sciences, won this year's Carole Weinstein Prize in Poetry.

The Weinstein Prize in Poetry, established in 2005, is awarded each year to a poet with strong connections to Central Virginia. The $10,000 prize recognizes significant recent contribution to the art of poetry and is awarded on the basis of a range of achievement in the field.

There is no formal application process or competition. A three-member board of curators selects the recipient annually.

Spaar was honored Oct. 15 as part of the 14th Annual Library of Virginia Literary Awards, sponsored by Dominion. The celebration, hosted by Virginia author Adriana Trigiani, also recognized other Virginia writers of fiction, nonfiction and poetry.

Spaar is the author of five books of poetry and two anthologies. She won the Library of Virginia's poetry prize in 2009 for "Satin Cash." A new book of poems will be released next year.

Her edition, "All That Mighty Heart: London Poems," was published by the University of Virginia Press in 2008.

"The Weinstein Award is one of those gifts that comes out of the blue," Spaar said. "You don't apply for it; you just get a call saying you've been selected. The award means much to me because it honors the work I've tried to do to foster poetry writing in Central Virginia."

At the University, Spaar started and fostered the Area Program in Poetry Writing, the
Undergraduate Reading Series and the Poets Reading Poets Series. She also co-founded the Route 64 Poetry Consortium, which connects poets teaching at other schools in the region.

Past recipients include last year's awardee, Henry Hart from the College of William & Mary; Pulitzer Prize winner Charles Wright, who retired from U.Va. last year, plus Eleanor Ross Taylor – both in 2009; and U.Va. alumna Claudia Emerson, another Pulitzer Prize winner, who won in 2007.

— By Anne Bromley

Media Contact

Anne E. Bromley

University News Associate Office of University Communications