Poet Alumnus Named Finalist for National Book Award

Anthony Cody in front of stairs at Fresno State.

By Jefferson Beavers

Author and Fresno State alumnus Anthony Cody’s debut poetry collection, “Borderland Apocrypha,” has been named a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Poetry.

Cody, a Fresno native and recent graduate of the university’s Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing, is the first MFA alum recognized as a National Book Award finalist. He was selected as the Graduate Dean’s Medalist for the College of Arts and Humanities this past May.

Given annually, the National Book Award is among the highest literary honors in the United States. A panel of literary experts selects winners, and the National Book Foundation honors authors in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, translated literature, and young people’s literature.

Winners will be announced Nov. 18.

Cody’s poetry collection — one of only two debut books among the 25 NBA finalists — won the 2018 Omnidawn Open Book Contest and was published in April 2020. He is a CantoMundo fellow, an associate poetry editor for Noemi Press, and a member of the Hmong American Writers’ Circle. Cody is a regular collaborator with U.S. Poet Laureate Emeritus Juan Felipe Herrera in the Laureate Lab Visual Wordist Studio, inside the Henry Madden Library on campus.

Additional links:

The Munro Review — “With Anthony Cody’s Big National Book Award News, Fresno’s Poetry Scene Gets Even More Impressive”

National Book Foundation finalist announcement

National Book Foundation long-list announcement for poetry

Fresno Writers Live virtual reading, June 2020

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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