Poet Peter Covino, an assistant professor of English, received the 2007 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry for his collection, Cut Off the Ears of Winter, during an awards ceremony at New York’s Lincoln Center.
The award recognizes the high literary character of the published work of an emerging American poet and the promise of further literary achievement, according to the PEN American Center, an association of writers working to advance literature, defend free expression, and foster international literary fellowship.
The judges wrote in their citation: “Images of real and symbolic violence ricochet and reflect off each other in this elegant and disturbing collection. The poems chronicle, among other things, a history of childhood abuse and its aftereffects, but in a larger sense, they also explore through the lens of myth, art, religion, and popular culture, the underlying and often unacknowledged brutality beneath even mundane events. Covino’s voice is urgent: ‘This is my last dollar, last cigarette, last match,’ but it is also witty, sophisticated, erudite, and street-wise. How can we not pay attention?”
Covino joined the URI faculty in 2006. He coordinated the University’s first Ocean State Summer Writing Conference, which attracted more than 240 participants last June.