Factory-worker-turned poet wins $100K prize

AP News
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Posted: Mar 12, 2014 12:05 PM

CLAREMONT, Calif. (AP) — A former Baltimore factory worker has won some life-changing money. Not from the lottery, but for poetry.

Claremont Graduate University in Southern California announced Wednesday that 62-year-old Afaa (OFF'-uh) Michael Weaver of Somerville, Mass., has won the $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award for his book of verse "The Government of Nature."

The prize, one of the richest handed out for poetry in the U.S., goes annually to a mid-career poet.

The competition's chief judge, Chase Twichell, called Weaver's life story "remarkable."

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Born in Baltimore in 1951, Weaver served in the Army for two years and worked in a factory for 15 before reinventing himself as a poet in the 1980s.

The book, his 12th, describes his traumatic childhood.