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Faculty Highlights: Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon
Assistant Professor of English
Assistant professor of English Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon has been named a finalist for a 2009 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for her poetry collection "Open Interval" (University of Pittsburgh Press).
Fifty nominees for the 30th annual book prizes were announced Feb. 22 in 10 categories, including history, biography, graphic novels, current interest, mystery/thriller, science/technology, and young adult literature. Winners will be announced at a ceremony April 23 in Los Angeles.
The poems in "Open Interval" draw on the intersections of astronomy and mathematics, history, literature and lived experience. The collection was previously nominated for a 2009 National Book Award.
"I had gotten the impression just from talking to people that they really liked this book, and a couple of reviews came out that were good," Van Clief-Stefanon said.
Her other books include the collection "Black Swan," winner of the 2001 Cave Canem Poetry Prize; and "Poems in Conversation and a Conversation" (2008) with Elizabeth Alexander, who composed and delivered "Praise Song for the Day" for Barack Obama's inauguration.
Van Clief-Stefanon teaches poetry to undergraduates and graduate students in the Creative Writing Program and also teaches in Cornell's Prison Education Program.
"I've gotten a lot of support from my colleagues in creative writing and the English department in general, and in giving me time to write while I was working on 'Open Interval,'" she said. "It has been great to have that kind of pay off."