Shaina Phenix, an assistant professor of English at Elon University in North Carolina, is the winner of the 2023 Miller Williams Poetry Prize from the University of Arkansas Press. Phenix will receive a cash prize, and her manuscript To Be Named Something Else will be published in the Miller Williams Poetry Series in the spring of 2023.
For almost a quarter century, the press has made this series the cornerstone of its work as a publisher of some of the country’s best new poetry. The series and prize are named for and operated to honor the cofounder and longtime director of the press, Miller Williams.
“I am honored to know that the poets who proceed me in this series have made the noise, taken the risks, stuck to their guns, and documented what might not otherwise be recorded. I know that my book is in good company,” Phenix said.
A native of Harlem, Phenix earned a bachelor’s degree in poetry, theater, and Africana studies at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. She holds a master of fine arts degree in poetry from Virginia Tech. She taught middle and high school humanities for four years. Phenix spent the 2021-2022 academic years as the Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.