Women in History – 30 June

Eleanor Ross Taylor (June 30, 1920 – December 30, 2011) was an American poet who published six collections of verse from 1960 to 2009. Her work received little recognition until 1998, but thereafter received several major poetry prizes.

Describing her most recent poetry collection, Kevin Prufer writes, “I cannot imagine the serious reader — poet or not — who could leave Captive Voices unmoved by the work of this supremely gifted poet who skips so nimbly around our sadnesses and fears, never directly addressing them, suggesting, instead, their complex resistance to summary

In 1998, she was awarded the Shelley Memorial Award by the Poetry Society of America, which honors one or two poets each year “with reference to genius and need”. She received the 2000 Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry, which honors a “substantial and distinguished career”. In 2009, she was elected to the Fellowship of Southern Writers and was awarded the Carole Weinstein Poetry Prize. In March 2010, her volume Captive Voices: New and Selected Poems, 1960–2008 received the William Carlos Williams Award for the year’s best volume of poetry from a small or a university press. On April 13, 2010 the Poetry Foundation announced that Taylor would receive the 2010 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, which honors poets whose “lifetime accomplishments warrant extraordinary recognition”; the prize was $100,000.