Matthew Donovan’s “Vellum” selected for VCU’s Levis Reading Prize

Matthew Donovan
Matthew Donovan

Matthew Donovan's "Vellum" has won the 2008 Levis Reading Prize, awarded by Virginia Commonwealth University for the best first or second book of poetry published in the previous calendar year.

Donovan, whose poems have appeared in such journals as Poetry, Agni, the Gettysburg Review and the Kenyon Review, serves as an assistant professor of creative writing at the College of Sante Fe and lives in New Mexico with his wife and son. He is also the recipient of the 2006 Katherine Bakeless Nason Prize for poetry, selected by the poet Mark Doty and awarded by Middlebury College and the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and of a literature fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts. "Vellum" was published by Mariner Books.

The Levis Reading Prize was established in 1998 in memory of Larry Levis, the distinguished poet and VCU professor. The award was created to encourage poets early in their careers. Donovan will receive a $1,000 honorarium and an all-expenses paid trip to Richmond for a reception and public reading on Sept. 18. The reading is sponsored by the VCU Department of English and the VCU Graduate Writers Association, with additional funding from the family of Larry Levis. It is free and open to the public.

Previous prizes have gone to Joshua Weiner for his collection "Fromthe Book of Giants," Ron Slate for "The Incentive of the Maggot," Spencer Reece for "The Clerk's Tale," David Daniel for "Seven-Star Bird," Susan Aizenberg for "Muse," Steve Scafidi for "Sparks from a Nine-Pound Hammer," Nick Flynn for "Some Ether," Joel Brouwer for "Exactly What Happened," Sandra Alcosser for "Except by Nature" and Belle Waring for "Dark Blonde."

VCU received more than 150 entries for this year's award. For more information about the Levis Reading Prize, visit, call 804.828.1329, or e-mail

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