National poetry award for poetry teacher Perry

Poet Nathanial Perry
Nathaniel Perry, editor of The Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review and an assistant professor of English, is the winner of the 2011 American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize. Perry's manuscript, Nine Acres, was chosen from more than 1,000 entries. He earned master's degrees from Boston University and Indiana University.

"Ever since the founding of The Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review over 25 years ago, ­Hampden-Sydney has been an important force in the world of poetry," says Dr. Robert Herdegen, Dean of the Faculty. "Neil Perry is continuing that tradition, both as the editor of the Review and now as the winner of this major award. The American Poetry Review's Honickman Prize, which is awarded for the best first book of poetry, is a significant award in itself and also a launching pad for an outstanding young poet. Almost all the poems in Nine Acres were written since Professor Perry arrived at Hampden-Sydney, and we're proud that he is part of our community."

Perry says, "Teaching at Hampden-Sydney has provided me with a rare opportunity-the chance to learn and think at the highest levels, in the heart of rural America. This unusual combination plays a major role in the book: the poems attempt to understand self-sustainability on all levels, on the land, with each other, in the mind and heart, and, perhaps, in the spirit as well. Nine Acres takes as its starting place the classic farm manual, Five Acres and Independence by M.G. Kains, so perhaps it is a metaphorical 'independence' that I am after and that I hope too to impart to my students. In the land and in learning is a freedom from our worst selves, and all of us-students and teachers alike-have to scramble like crazy to find our ways toward it."

Nine Acres will be published by The American Poetry Review and Copper Canyon Press in September. To subscribe to The Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, send $7 to P.O. Box 66, Hampden-Sydney, Virginia 23943.