University of Pittsburgh Press is excited to announce Eleanor Boudreau as the 2019 winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize for her collection Earnest, Earnest?. It was selected from over 600 submissions and will be published by UPP next fall. Boudreau will also receive a $5,000 cash prize.
“I love puns, but Earnest, Earnest? is more than a pun. At some point, my quest to say what I mean and mean what I say, as a poet, but also as a human being, became a question, Earnest, Earnest?,” said the 35-year-old Cambridge, MA, native.
In Earnest, Earnest?, the speaker, Eleanor, writes postcards to her on-again-off-again lover, “Earnest,” explained Boudreau. “The fact that her lover’s name is Earnest and that their relationship is fraught, raises questions of sincerity and irony, and whether both can be present at the same time. While Earnest can be read literally as Eleanor’s lover, he is best understood as another side of the poet’s self.
“The ambiguity at play in Earnest, Earnest? is embodied in the form of the “Earnest Postcards” that structure the book—these postcards are experimental in their use of images and formal in their dialogue with the sonnet. Earnest, Earnest? is a question of tone, address, and form.”
Boudreau lives in Tallahassee, FL, where she is finishing her PhD at Florida State University. She holds a BA from Harvard, an MS from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, and an MFA from the University of Houston.
Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Tin House, Barrow Street, Waxwing, Willow Springs, FIELD, Copper Nickel, and other journals. Boudreau was Florida State University’s nominee for the Best New Poets anthology, a finalist for the Elixir Press Antivenom Poetry Award, a finalist for the Iron Horse Literary Review Chapbook Competition, a semi-finalist for the Fordham University Press Poets Out Loud Prize, and a semi-finalist for the Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize. She has worked as a dry-cleaner and as a radio reporter.
The Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize is a national literary award for a first full-length book of poetry in the English language. Initiated by Ed Ochester and developed by Frederick A. Hetzel, the prize is named for a former director of the University of Pittsburgh Press.