We are pleased to report that the Poetry Foundation announced today that Ange Mlinko, a poet and frequent contributor to the literary pages of The Nation, is the recipient of the Randall Jarrell Award in Poetry Criticism. The foundation praised Mlinko for criticism that “is eclectic and astringent yet always lucid and generous. We are pleased to recognize a young critic whose distinctive sharp wit and formidable power have helped revitalize the art of writing about poetry.” We couldn’t agree more.
In her pieces for The Nation, Mlinko has focused on poets who are passionate observers of the onrush of modern life and its roiling antinomies, whose ungovernable minds prize doubt and whose poems are quickened by verbal play. For Mlinko, poets like Helen Adam, Emily Dickinson and Fanny Howe often wrestle with the question of a poet’s social place or responsibility during times of war and other public agonies, yet they don’t think that poetry is merely an intellectual discourse about culture: it’s not journalism or sociology or political theory written with line breaks. They are neither nihilists who sneer at a meaningless world nor aesthetes who wall off that world with formal masonry. They believe poetry possesses evanescent powers of salvage and rejuvenation.
Mlinko was born in Philadelphia and educated at St. John’s College and Brown University. She is the author of two volumes of poetry, Matinees (1999) and Starred Wire (2005), which was a National Poetry Series winner in 2004 and a finalist for the James Laughlin Award the following year. Congratulations, Ange.