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Awards

Inspirations

Plaque commemorating 40th Anniversary
of Hofstra Basketball team on which Stephen Dunn played

     Beginning with his part in Hofstra's 1959-1960 championship basketball team to his Pulitzer Prize in 2000, Stephen Dunn has been receiving awards and earning recognition for his natural talents solidifying Dunn's rightful place in the literary cannon.

     In an interview with Neal Conan in 2013, Dunn explained that the best award he ever received was finally realizing his life's calling when he declared:

"Oh, lots of rewards. My life - one of the reasons I quit my job at Nabisco is that I didn't want to be any of those people when I grew up. It sounds a little melodramatic, but it was true. And to have been around poets, even though, you know, poets are as complicated and often as - how should I say it - disagreeable as any group of people, I'm so happy that I found most of my friends that way and through athletics too." 

     Dunn went further on to explain that because he wasn't the best on the basketball team, he realized his other ambitions and was then drawn to literature.  This was a different path for him since he was originally a history major.  Even after attempting to write a "bad novel," Dunn turned his failures into lessons that ultimately brought him to creating award-winning poetry.

      In addition to the Pulitzer in poetry for Different Hours, Stephen Dunn has received numerous awards for his poetry. Dunn received the Theodore Roethke Prize from Poetry Northwest (1977), the Levinson Prize (1987) from Poetry magazine, the James Wright Prize from Mid-America Review (1993), an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1995), and the J. Howard and Barbara M. J. Wood Prize (2001) fromPoetry magazine. In 1985, Local Time was chosen for the National Poetry Series by Dave Smith, and in 1996, Loosestrife was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. In addition to his readings at many colleges and universities, Dunn has read his poetry at the Library of Congress.