NEW YORK (AP) — A Cuban-Peruvian poet from New Mexico has won the Academy of American Poets’ First Book Award. Sara Daniele Rivera will receive $5,000, a six-week residency at an artist community in the Umbria region of Italy and a book deal with Graywolf Press, which next year will publish her debut collection “The Blue Mimes.”
Poet Eduardo C. Corral chose Rivera’s manuscript for the first book prize. In a statement Tuesday released through the academy, he praised Rivera for her “beautifully and deftly crafted” poems, and her compelling evocation of loss.
“I felt deeply the grief in this book. I felt less alone after reading it,” Corral wrote.
The 33-year-old Rivera is a writer, artist, translator and educator who lives in Albuquerque. Previous winners of the first book award include John Canaday, Elaine Terranova and Jenny Xie, a National Book Award nominee in 2018.