New Jersey native Patrick Rosal, a son of immigrants from the Ilocos region of the Philippines, has won a major award for the most outstanding book of poetry of the year.
The 2017 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets is a $25,000 award that recognizes the most outstanding book of poetry published in the United States in the previous year.
“In Brooklyn Antediluvian, Rosal unflinchingly addresses questions of race and race relations in America,” according to Rutgers-Camden News Now. “The lyrical masterpiece dives to the depths of his identity and experiences as a Filipino American, traversing his childhood growing up in North Jersey and his family’s roots from home to the Philippines.
“Most importantly, says Rosal, he is proud to be the first Asian American to win the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. It’s an accomplishment, he says, that has to be personally experienced to be fully understood.
“I don’t know how to impress upon people who don’t know what it’s like to look at pop culture or the literary world and not see people who look like you,” says Rosal, who notes that he is the only person with whom he grew up who has written books and one of the few members of his family to have attended college.
“I hope that this recognition opens up possibilities for others,” he says.”
Patrick Rosen is an associate professor of English at Rutgers University–Camden.