Jay Wright is the first African-American to win Yale’s prestigious Bollingen Prize. Previous winners have included Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore, Robert Frost, W. H. Auden, and James Merrill. The prize carries a cash award of $75,000. From the official prize page:
A three-judge panel has named Jay Wright the 2005 winner of Yale University’s Bollingen Prize for American Poetry.
The judges awarded the prize for Wright’s lifetime achievement in poetry: “Daring to extend the tradition of the prophetic voice, Jay Wright’s work has for more than 40 years been nothing less than a sustained meditation on the various aspects – historical, spiritual, mythical – of which humanity is woven. The great ambition of his work has not only been to weave these strands into rich, complex, allusive poems but also, in his own words, ‘to uncover the weave.'”