University of Arizona English Professor Susan Briante is the winner of the 2021 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism from the Poetry Foundation.
The award, which includes a $7,500 prize, honors the best book-length works of criticism published in the prior calendar year; the award recognizes biographies, essay collections, and critical editions that consider the subject of poetry or poets.
Briante received the award for Defacing the Monument, a series of essays on immigration, archives, aesthetics, and the state. Examining migration and the fraught bureaucracies of the U.S.-Mexico border, Briante delivers a provocative meditation on what official records reveal or obscure. In a starred review, Publisher’s Weekly calls the collection “a superb examination of the ethical issues facing artists who tell others’ stories” and a “dazzlingly inventive and searching text.”
Briante said Defacing the Monument stems from her work as co-coordinator of the UArizona Southwest Field Studies in Writing Program, which brings MFA students to the U.S.-Mexico border to engage in reciprocal research projects with community-based environmental and social justice groups.