Top honor from the American Academy of Poets celebrates Finney’s entire oeuvre.
Nikky Finney, Carolina Distinguished Professor and the John H. Bennett, Jr. Endowed Professor of Creative Writing and Southern Letters at the University of South Carolina, has received the $100,000 Wallace Stevens Award. The award is given by the American Academy of Poets to recognize artistic achievement across a poet's career. The judges commended Finney as "a bard for the African diaspora" and praised the "fierce moral conviction" shown in such books as Head Off & Split, The World is Round, and Heartwood. Finney was also recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is the recipient of the National Book Award, the PEN American Open Book Award, the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Award for the Arts, and the Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry. Her now famous National Book Award acceptance speech is on display in the inaugural exhibition of the African American Museum of History and Culture. Finney's most recent book is Love Child's Hotbed of Occasional Poetry.