March 22, 2017
Cornell Chronicle

Meringoff Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellow Ishion Hutchinson Wins National Book Award

Assistant professor of English Ishion Hutchinson has won the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) Award for poetry for his 2016 collection, “House of Lords and Commons.”

The annual awards for fiction, nonfiction, biography, autobiography, poetry and criticism were announced March 16. “House of Lords and Commons” explores the landscape of Jamaica and Hutchinson’s memories of growing up there in Port Antonio.

“I think about the landscape of my childhood, the variety and exquisite complexity of living in a place that offers so much,” Hutchinson said in a December interview. “I appreciate the richness of home, and I am still a part of it.”

In a review as part of a series on all 30 NBCC finalists leading up to the awards ceremony, critic Tess Taylor called the book “ragged and fiercely beautiful. Its double-edged language is inviting and unsettling. … Hutchinson’s poems are the skeins a thinker makes of trouble, inequality, global travel, lost time.”

“House of Lords and Commons” also received glowing reviews in The New York Times Book Review, The Guardian, The New Yorker and other publications. It is Hutchinson’s second book of poetry; his previous collection, “Far District: Poems,” was published in 2010. He won a Whiting Writers’ Award in 2013.

Hutchinson, the Meringoff Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellow in the College of Arts and Sciences, joined the Cornell faculty in 2012. He teaches poetry in the Department of English and mentors young writers in the Creative Writing Program.

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