Grady Chambers won the inaugural Max Ritvo Poetry Prize, for his manuscript, North American Stadiums. The prize "honors the legacy of one of the most original and accomplished poets to debut in recent years, and to reward outstanding emerging poets for years to come." It was created by Milkweed Editions in partnership with Riva Ariella Ritvo-Slifka and the Alan B. Slifka Foundation. Chambers will receive $10,000 and publication by Milkweed in June 2018.
The winner was chosen by poet and judge Henri Cole, who said: "This powerful, absorbing first book has the sound and feel of a younger generation. Brilliant language, intelligence, and feeling make North American Stadiums matter. Factory lights, border patrol, gin, handguns, smoke stacks, and war are the geography of many of these eloquent poems, but the solitary poet is always scrutinizing the world with the eyes of a lover."
Milkweed publisher and CEO Daniel Slager commented: "I can think of no better way to honor Max Ritvo and his legacy than a first-book poetry prize, which rewards outstanding accomplishment in the art form he excelled. Nearly a thousand poets submitted manuscripts in this contest, and the quality of them confirms our sense that American poetry is livelier than ever. Congratulations to Grady Chambers for emerging from this mix, and hearty thanks to Henri Cole and the poets who served as first readers. We are very excited to publish North American Stadiums in 2018."