Jeanne Marie Beaumont recently endowed the Academy of American Poets Prize in the memory of poet Enid Dame, who died on Christmas Day of 2003. The Academy sponsors nearly two hundred college prizes nationwide as a way of recognizing young authors. By endowing the prize at Rutgers, Ms. Beaumont has insured that the Enid Dame Memorial Poetry Prize will continue to be awarded for the best poem by an undergraduate for as long as students keep writing.
Ms. Beaumont remembers that winning a poetry prize in college “meant a lot at the time”; she is now the author of two collections, Curious Conduct and Placebo Effects, and has published poems in more than fifty magazines. She has also taught poetry and creative writing at Rutgers for the last seven years. “It’s obvious to me that there are some very talented student writers,” she says, “and a prize is a good way to encourage and recognize that.”
Poet Enid Dame earned her Ph.D. from Rutgers English in 1983, and taught at Rutgers and at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. For twenty-five years, she and her husband Donald Lev co-edited Home Planet News, a literary review. She was beloved in the New York/New Jersey poetry community, known for being encouraging to others and generous with her time as well as for her poetry. Ms. Dame published several collections, including Lilith and Her Demons and Anything You Don’t See.
Ms. Beaumont met Ms. Dame through mutual acquaintances, and welcomed the opportunity to reprint Dame’s poems “Cinderella” and “The Social Worker Finds Hansel and Gretel Difficult to Place” in an anthology she co-edited with Claudia Carlson called The Poets’ Grimm: 20th Century Poems from Grimm Fairy Tales. “As a poet, Enid Dame had a wonderful wit,” Ms. Beaumont says. “Her work often took old stories and gave new voice to the characters, a great model of feminist retelling and also of dramatic monologue. I hope the prize will inspire students to look up and enjoy her work.”
A Tribute to Enid Dame
More information about The Poets’ Grimm