Korean American Poet Wins Walt Whitman Award

Photo courtesy of Poetry Foundation

A Korean American poet has won the Walt Whitman Award, the prestigious prize awarded by the Academy of American Poets to debut writers, the academy announced on Wednesday.

Hannah Sanghee Park will receive $5,000 in prize money as part of the award, established for writers who have never had their books of poetry published. Her debut bookThe Same-Different, will be released next year by the Louisiana State University Press, and the academy will purchase thousands of copies for distribution to its members.


Pulitzer Prize winner Rae Armantrout, who chose Park for the honor, said The Same-Different is a “literally dazzling debut.”

Born in Tacoma, Wash., Park graduated from the University of Washington and later earned her MFA from the University of Iowa. She is currently living in Los Angeles and attending the USC School of Cinematic Arts’ Writing for Screen & Television Division.

Park, 27, is also the author of a chapbook, Ode Days Ode, and her work has appeared in LVNGPetri PressPoetry Northwest and Best New Poets 2013.

The Walt Whitman Award has been handed out since 1975 as a way to encourage the work of emerging poets and enable publication of their inaugural book. It also earns the winning poet a one-month residency at the Vermont Studio Center.