Sjohnna McCray, a prize-winning poet whose work has appeared in numerous journals, has won the Walt Whitman Award for best first book.
McCray’s honor was announced Monday by the Academy of American Poets. McCray will receive $5,000 and a six-week residency at an artists’ foundation in Umbria, Italy. The manuscript for “Rapture,” his debut collection, will be published next year by Graywolf Press and the poets academy will purchase thousands of copies to give to its members.
McCray is an Ohio native who teaches at Savannah State University in Georgia.
Previous winners of the Whitman award, established in 1975, include Judy Jordan, John Canaday and Sally Van Doren.