NEW YORK — Peter Balakian has won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for “Ozone Journal,” a collection of his poems.
The title poem of Ozone Journal is a sequence of fifty-four short sections, each a poem in itself, recounting the speaker’s memory of excavating the bones of Armenian genocide victims in the Syrian desert with a crew of television journalists in 2009, according to Amazon.com.
The Pulitzer board said Balakian’s poems “bear witness to the old losses and tragedies that undergird a global age of danger and uncertainty.”
An expert in the Armenian genocide Balakian often writes about it in his poems and non-fiction. In the book, “We are reminded that the history of atrocity, trauma, and forgetting is both global and ancient; but we are reminded, too, of the beauty and richness of culture and the resilience of love,” according to the publisher’s description of the collection.
Balakian is Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor of the Humanities, Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing at Colgate University, where he has taught since 1980. He was the first Director of Colgate’s Center For Ethics and World Societies.
Balakian is the author of seven books of poems and four prose works. “Black Dog of Fate,” a memoir, won the PEN/Albrand Prize.