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Poet Darrell Bourque to Receive James William Rivers Prize in Louisiana Studies

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The Center for Louisiana Studies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette will host an award ceremony and reception from 2-3 pm, on Monday, April 18, in honor of poet Darrell Bourque, the recipient of the 2016 James William Rivers Prize in Louisiana Studies.  The event will take place at the UL Lafayette Alumni Center. 

The prize selection committee specifically cited Bourque's "longstanding commitment to and leadership in the realm of preserving and expanding our understanding of Louisiana through poetry.

"Bourque grew up in a rural community near Sunset, Louisiana. He graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana before earning a master’s and a Ph.D. in creative writing from Florida State University.  He is Professor Emeritus in English at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he served as director of the Creative Writing and Interdisciplinary Humanities programs.  He was appointed Louisiana Poet Laureate by then-Governor Kathleen Blanco in 2007 and reappointed by Governor Bobby Jindal in 2009.

Bourque received the 2014 Louisiana Writer Award, given by the Louisiana Center for the Book, in recognition for outstanding contributions to Louisiana’s literary and intellectual life.  He has published nine collections of poems: “Plainsongs”; “The Doors Between Us”; “Burnt Water Suite”; “The Blue Boat”; “In Ordinary Light: New and Selected Poems”; “Call and Response: Conversations in Verse,” a collaboration with Louisiana poet Jack B. Bedell; “Holding the Notes”; “Megan's Guitar and Other Poems from Acadie”; and “if you abandon me, comment je vas faire: An Amédé Ardoin Songbook.”

“Megan’s Guitar and Other Poems from Acadie” was the 2014 winner of the Best Poetry Book Award given by Independent Book Publishing Professional Group and the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. It also was a finalist in the “Foreword Review” annual poetry competition.

The James William Rivers Prize in Louisiana Studies was established to honor persons who have contributed or rendered, recently or over the course of their careers, outstanding scholarly study, work, or teaching about the culture, history, art, architecture, crafts, flora, fauna, music, literature, law, performing arts or geography of Louisiana or about its people.  The Rivers Prize was established with private funds donated in memory of Mr. Rivers, a New Orleans architect and graduate of USL (now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette), who died in 1991.  Previous Rivers Prize winners include: A. Hays Town, Barry Ancelet, Ernest Gaines, Ellis Marsalis, JamesLee Burke, Carl Brasseaux, George Rodrigue, and Leah Chase.

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