Thursday, October 27, 2005

Horn Tooting

I don't often toot my own horn on this blog, but tonight was quite special: I was one of 10 recipients this year of a writing award for my fiction by the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, based in New York. (The New York Times wrote it up here.) The ceremony took place on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, in a grand hall belonging to the Council on Foreign Relations, and the extraordinary short-story writer Grace Paley read one of her autobiographical stories to conclude the awards ceremony. C. was there (and when they read out my citation, they noted that he was at the event!), as were wonderful friends Carolyn Micklem, the director of the Cave Canem Foundation, my brilliant colleague Jennifer Brody, and poet Patricia Spears Jones.

What made it even more special was that two of the other winners, Thomas Sayers Ellis and Tracy K. Smith, both amazing poets, were members with me years ago in a Black writers group based in Cambridge (and later Boston) called the Dark Room Collective. Thomas actually co-founded the Dark Room with poets Sharan Strange and Janice Lowe (whom I hadn't seen for years but then ran into several times this past summer at my New York gym, 24/7.) Additionally, among my other links to Tracy is that her first book of poems, The Body's Question, won the 2003 Cave Canem Poetry Prize; my collection was one of two finalists for the prize (I spent 3 summers in CC's workshops, becoming a graduate fellow in 2001).

Here are some photos of the event, taken by C. and I:

Carolyn, I, Tracy, Thomas

I, Carolyn, and Jennifer

Patricia and I (fellow winner Ilya Kaminsky stands in the background)

C. after the ceremony (Hi paddi!)


  1. Bravo and congratulations again, J! And great to see C looking like the Mack Daddy he is! Best from both of us in B-more to both of you...R & M

  2. Toot your horn! You're entitled!

  3. Congratulations John.

    How modest you are. When we exchanged emails the night the White Sox won the Series, you mentioned you were in town and not Chicago, but made no reference as to why you were in town.

  4. John,

    Congratulations. I've yet to read your fiction, but from the energy and mastery of your crit stuff, I'm confident it was well-deserved.


  5. Many congratulations to you! I was going to post some reply about it elsewhere, but didn't want to out you! Much better to out yourself.

  6. Congrats, congrats, congrats!! I haven't posted on the CC list, yet. Just wanted to tell you how happy I was to meet you in Chi-town, happier still to read this fantastic news. Peace and Blessings,

  7. toot that horn, baby. you deserve all of it. all blessings to you, black man,

    scott p-b

  8. woohoo!
    this is fine, fine news indeed!
    well deserved.
    hard earned.

    cause for big celebration!

  9. Congratulations, John! And bigger awards (also well deserved) are on the way! Sharan S.