Belmont alumna Lisa Williams, assistant professor of English at Centre College in Danville, Ky., has been awarded the prestigious 2007 Barnard Women Poets Prize for her collection of poems, Woman Reading to the Sea. Williams received an honorarium of $1,500 and publication of her manuscript in spring of 2008 by W.W. Norton & Co. The prize is given annually to one emerging writer to publish her second collection of poetry. Three-time Pulitzer Prize-nominated author Joyce Carol Oates handpicked Williams as winner of the award.
Williams received her M.F.A. in creative writing/poetry from the University of Virginia, her M.A. in Literature with Creative Writing Thesis from the University of Cincinnati, and her B.A. from Belmont University. Her poems are recently published or forthcoming in The Southern Review, Salmagundi, Raritan, Virginia Quarterly Review, Ninth Letter, The Cincinnati Review and other magazines, as well as in the anthology American Poetry: Next Generation. Her essays on contemporary poets appear in The Hollins Critic. In 2004, Williams was awarded the Rome Prize in Literature by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Williams’ book of poems, The Hammered Dulcimer, won the 1998 May Swenson Poetry Award. She has received a Henry Hoyns Fellowship, an Elliston Fellowship, a Walter E. Dakin fellowship and a Tennessee Williams scholarship, among other fellowships and awards.