Lesbian poet Nikky Finney won the 2011 National Book Award for poetry for her collection Head Off & Split. Finney was presented the  poetry award on Wednesday, November 16 at the National Book Foundation sponsored ceremony in New York,NY.

Finney was not the only person from the LGBTQ community to receive an award that night, iconic poet John Ashbery was presented the foundation’s lifetime achievement award, the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

Please make sure you check out Finney’s fantastic acceptance speech in the video below (her speech starts at 17:26).

The complete list of National Book Award winners:

FICTION: Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones (Bloomsbury USA)

NONFICTION: Stephen Greenblatt, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern
(W. W. Norton & Company)

POETRY: Nikky Finney, Head Off & Split
(TriQuarterly, an imprint of Northwestern University Press)

YOUNG PEOPLE’S LITERATURE: Thanhha Lai, Inside Out & Back Again
(Harper, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers)

[via LA Times]

Photo via Associated Press


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  • Michael Craft

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