Carnegie Mellon University
August 20, 2015

Danielle Pieratti Wins National Poetry Award

By Shilo Rea

Danielle Pieratti Wins National Poetry Award

The Idaho Prize for Poetry has selected “Fugitives,” a manuscript by Carnegie Mellon University alumna Danielle Pieratti (CMU’00), as its 2015 winner.

A national poetry competition, the prize annually awards a poet $1,000 for the best book-length collection. Lost Horse Press publishes the winning manuscripts. Acclaimed novelist and poet Kim Addonizio judged this year’s submissions.

"During the past ten years Carnegie Mellon has produced an incredible number of female poets who have published their work in literary journals and have produced first collections. Danielle Pieratti is squarely among these accomplished alumni,” said Gerald Costanzo, professor of English and founder and director of CMU Press.

“Fugitives” will be released in Spring 2016. Pieratti, who received her bachelor of humanities and arts degree (BXA) in writing, fine arts and popular history with an additional major of creative writing, is the author of two chapbooks, “By the Dogstar,” and “The Post, the Cage, the Palisade.” Her poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Boston Review, Rhino, Western Humanities Review, Sixth Finch and other journals.

“I remember reading some of her early poems in The Paris Review and being astounded by their quality,” Costanzo said. “As an intern at CMU Press her work was first-rate, and her dry humor, infectious. What distinguished her as a student, I think, was her willingness to read, and her total dedication to improving. She understood that if the current ‘topic’ seemed unimportant to her at the moment, that in the future it probably would become so. It might be said of Danielle that absolutely nothing was ever lost on her– and I mean that as high praise.”

After CMU, Pieratti received a master’s of fine arts in poetry from Columbia University and a master’s of science in secondary education from the University of Albany, SUNY. Pieratti currently teaches high school English in Connecticut.

Included among the other awards and honors that Pieratti has received for her writing are The Paris Review’s Bernard F. Connors Prize for Poetry (2004), Columbia University’s Benjamin T. Burns Poetry Fellowship (2002) and the CMU Adamson Award for Nonfiction (2000).

“Danielle is a wonderful poet whose strong sense of craft and precision of language made her a standout in our writing program here,” said Jim Daniels, the Thomas Stockham Baker University Professor of English. “She is joining a distinguished list of poets at Lost Horse Press, which produces some very beautiful books. Kim Addonizio, the judge who selected her manuscript, is a heavyweight poet, and her endorsement should help get Danielle’s book the attention it deserves.”

Pieratti is the second alumna from the Department of English’s Creative Writing Program to receive a national poetry prize this summer; Marci Calabretta (DC’11) won the 2015 Donald Hall Prize for Poetry.