Nathaniel Mackey, professor emeritus of literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz, has been named the winner of the 2014 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. The prize is given annually by the Poetry Foundation to a “living U.S. poet whose lifetime accomplishments warrant extraordinary recognition.” The prize comes with a $100,000 cash award.
Professor Mackey taught at the University of California, Santa Cruz for 31 years. He is a graduate of Princeton University, where he majored in English. He earned a Ph.D. at Stanford University. Before joining the faculty at the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1979, Dr. Mackey taught at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Southern California. At USC, he was the director of the Black studies program.
Dr. Mackey is the author of several collections of poetry. In 2006 he won the National Book Award in the poetry category for his collection, Splay Anthem (New Directions, 2006).