Poetry Society of America named Writing Program alumni Justin Boening ('11 SOA) and Cherry Pickman ('10 SOA) as recipients of 2012 Chapbook Fellowships. Each year four renowned poets select fellows to publish a chapbook by emerging poets who have not yet published a full-length volume of work. The Poetry Society of America will publish each fellow's collection of poems and award a prize of $1000.
Cherry Pickman was selected as a New York Fellow by Lucia Perillo, and Justin Boening selected a National Fellow by Dara Wier. The Chapbook Fellowship has previously been awarded to Writing Program alumni Stephanie Adams-Santos (The Sundering, 2009), Jocelyn Casey-Whiteman (Lure, 2009), C.J. Evans (The Category of Outcast, 2008), Marni Ludwig (Little Box of Cotton & Lightning, 2011), Carey McHugh (The Original Instructions for the Perfect Preservation of Birds &c., 2007), Camille Rankine (Slow Dance with Trip Wire, 2010), Andrew Seguin (Black Anecdote, 2010) and Lytton Smith (Monster Theory, 2007).
Beginning in the 16th century, the chapbook has proved adaptable to a wide range of material, from political tracts to penny songs and poems. These inexpensive booklets were originally distributed to a diverse audience by "chapmen" who sold them at bars or on street corners with their other wares. Today there is still an active community of chapbook publishers, and chapbooks can be found in all shapes and sizes, stapled together, silk-screened, or sewn, often in limited editions for collectors and enthusiasts of the medium. The Poetry Society of America continues this tradition with its chapbook series presenting the work of new poets who have not yet published a full-length volume of poetry.