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Press Release

Jonathan Potts

For immediate release:
April 14, 2005

Carnegie Mellon University Press Author Snags Poetry's Top Prize—Again

PITTSBURGH—Another year, another Pulitzer Prize for a poet whose work has been published by the Carnegie Mellon University Press. Ted Kooser, the poet laureate of the United States, won the 2005 Pulitzer for poetry for his book "Delights and Shadows," which was published by Copper Canyon Press. In 2000, Carnegie Mellon published Kooser's collection "Winter Morning Walks: one hundred postcards to Jim Harrison."

Kooser is not alone. Three of the last five Pulitzer Prize winners, including last year's winner, Franz Wright, either started or spent some portion of their careers with the university press. Carnegie Mellon published three collections by Wright and four collections by Stephen Dunn, who won the Pulitzer in 2001. In 1986, Carnegie Mellon published poet Rita Dove's "Thomas and Beulah," which was awarded the Pulitzer the following year.

The Carnegie Mellon University Press was founded 30 years ago by English Professor Gerald Costanzo, who runs the press with the help each year of five to seven student interns from his editing and publishing course. Those students—many of whom have gone on to careers in publishing—work at every stage of the publishing process, and they help Costanzo choose the 20 titles he publishes each year from among the hundreds of manuscripts he receives. Costanzo said it was their hard work and expertise that allowed the press to quickly publish "Winter Morning Walks" at the end of 2000, when Kooser suddenly found himself between publishers.

"Ted Kooser and I have been friends for 30 years and admirers of each other's work," Costanzo said. "And that book has paid dividends for us. It's now in its fifth printing."

The Carnegie Mellon University Press is a primarily a literary press that publishes mostly in poetry and short fiction. It also has published books in a range of other subjects including religion, art and history.


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