Inaugural "Academy of American Poets Prize"
Posted April 16, 2002
HOLLAND -- Katie Bode-Lang, a senior from Holland,
has been named the inaugural recipient of the Academy of
American Poets Prize at Hope College.
Elizabeth Lomasney, a senior from Lockport, Ill.,
received honorable mention. This year's final outside judge
for Hope College was eminent poet Edward Hirsch.
The Academy of American Poets Prize is a national
poetry award for college students. In its nearly 50-year
history, The Academy of American Poets has awarded more than
$350,000 to nearly 10,000 student poets. The 2001-02
academic year is the inaugural year for the award at Hope
Many of America's most esteemed poets won their
first national recognition through an Academy College Prize,
including Diane Ackerman, Toi Derricotte, Mark Doty, Alice
Fulton, Tess Gallagher, Louise Glück, Jorie Graham, Joy
Harjo, Robert Hass, Li-Young Lee, Heather McHugh, Robert
Pinsky, Sylvia Plath, Mark Strand and Charles Wright, among
The Academy of American Poets Prize is a college-
wide award, and an open competition. Submissions were open
to any student registered for classes at Hope full-time,
from any major or discipline, about any topic, and in any
poetic form. All manuscripts were anonymously submitted.
There were 35 entrants this year.
Bode-Lang is a senior English and women's studies
major and creative writing minor, as the winner of the
prize. She currently works for the Michigan Women's
Foundation in Grand Rapids, and plans to continue working in
the non-profit arena after graduation. She would like to
pursue an MFA in creative writing in the future, but will
take a few years off before heading back to school.
"Writing has always been a reference point in my life," she
said. "Not just as an outlet or a gauge of emotions, but as
a centering point. Whether working or studying, I always
come back to writing in one way or another."
She is a 1998 graduate of Catholic Central High
School in Grand Rapids. She is the daughter of Bruce and
Flossie Bode of Grand Rapids. Her husband, Andrew, a poet
and an MFA student, is a 1999 Hope graduate.
Lomasney is majoring in English with an emphasis
in writing. Next year she will be attending Purdue
University in West Lafayette, where she will be a student in
the MFA/poetry program as well as a teaching assistant. In
the future, she would like to keep writing, earn her
doctorate and hopefully teach college-level English. "I
write to make sense out of things," she said, "to re-live
moments, to gain some intimacy with the people and places
around me and within me. The sheer process... is a very
happy and welcoming place to be."
She is a 1998 graduate of Providence Catholic High
School in New Lenox, Ill. She is the daughter of Kenneth
and Catherine Lomasney of Lockport.
Hirsch is a national best-selling author of nine
books of poetry and criticism and a professor in the
creative writing program at the University of Houston. His
major awards include a MacArthur Fellowship "genius grant,"
the Rome Prize, the Lyndhurst Prize, the American Academy of
Arts and Letters Award in Literature, the National Book
Critics Circle Award, the Texas Institute of Letters Award
in Poetry, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Delmore Schwartz
Memorial Award, an Ingram Merrill Foundation Award, the
Academy of American Poets' Peter I.B. Lavan Younger Poets
Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and a
Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writers' Award, among others.
He is a graduate of Grinnell College and the University of
The award has been funded by Dr. Thomas Werge, a
1963 Hope graduate who is a professor of English at the
University of Notre Dame, to encourage excellent student
writing and secure permanent membership for Hope College in
the University and College Poetry Prize program of the
Academy of American Poets.