Professor Heather Treseler awarded May Sarton NH Poetry Prize

September 29, 2023
By: Worcester State University News

Heather Treseler, Ph.D., professor of English and Presidential Fellow for the Arts, has received the 2023 May Sarton NH Poetry Prize from Bauhan Publishing for her full-length manuscript of poems, Auguries & Divinations. The prize includes the publication of Treseler’s book in April of 2024 and a monetary award of $1,000. This is the thirteenth year that Bauhan has offered the May Sarton Prize, and this year’s contest judge, the poet Brad Crenshaw, selected Treseler’s book manuscript from more than 400 submissions.

In his citation, Crenshaw noted: “Heather Treseler is compelling. We immediately want to listen to her, the way we might listen to a lyric singer full of melody and rhythm. But make no mistake, running through all her lyricism is a staring, unblinking intelligence that informs us about what she sees. Her vision is inclusive, generous, wide-ranging, and enthralling. Taken as a whole, we have a tremendously wise and wonderful new collection of poetry.”

Poems in Treseler’s manuscript have previously received The Missouri Review’s Editors’ Prize, the Frontier Poetry Prize, and the W. B. Yeats Prize from the W. B. Yeats Society of New York. Most recently, Narrative Magazine chose her poem “Postscript” for its fifteenth annual poetry award, an honor that entails publication of her poem this November and a prize of $1,500.

In 2020, Treseler’s collection Parturition won the international chapbook award from the Munster Literature Centre in Ireland and the Jean Pedrick Chapbook Prize from the New England Poetry Club. Her poems have appeared widely in journals in the U.S., Ireland, and the U.K., including The Kenyon Review, The Cincinnati Review, PN Review, The American Scholar, Harvard Review, The Moth, and The Irish Times. She has published essays about contemporary American poetry in the Los Angeles Review of Books and Boston Review as well as in recent books published by Cambridge University Press, Edinburgh University Press, the University of Akron Press, and the University of Virginia Press.

Her forthcoming collection of poems tracks a young woman’s coming of age in New England, drawing on traditions in the love lyric and on the classical practice of augury, or observing the flight patterns of birds to discern human fate.

The prize honors the renowned novelist, memoirist, poet, and feminist May Sarton, who died in York, Maine, in 1995, after a career in letters spanning almost sixty years.

“It’s an honor to receive a prize named after May Sarton,” Treseler said. “Born in Belgium in 1912, she emigrated to the U.S. with her family following the German occupation of her country of birth. During her life, she published over fifty volumes of poetry, novels, memoirs, and journals, working with remarkable facility in several genres. She traveled avidly, but made New England her home, and lived a life of conviction and artistic courage. I’m grateful to Brad Crenshaw for choosing my manuscript, and I look forward to working with Bauhan, a press with international distribution, which produces truly beautiful books.”

Photo by Rick Bern.

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