Nisha Bolsey MFA ’21 Awarded the Eileen Lannan Poetry Prize

Bolsey's poem "Sprawl" chosen as the 2021 winner


Nisha Bolsey ’21 has received the Eileen Lannan Poetry Prize, just weeks before her graduation. Bolsey pursued an MFA in Creative Writing, with a specialization in poetry. The Eileen Lannan Poetry Prize is sponsored by the Academy of American Poets as part of the University & College Poetry Prizes program. Each year, a winner receives a cash prize and a year-long membership to the Academy of American Poets.

A guest judge, poet Amy Gerstler, awarded Nisha Bolsey’s poem “Sprawl” as the 2021 winner. “Sprawl” is about Bolsey’s relationship to her hair. “I was interested in taking a part of me I have disliked most of my life and trying to understand it as something separate from me with its own story, its own lineage,” she said.

Bolsey added that she is overwhelmed to have won this award. “It is such an immense honor to have my work chosen, and by Amy Gerstler whose poetry I so deeply admire--that is a dream! Overall, I'm just brimming with gratitude for all the professors and fellow students at Columbia who I've learned so much from and have supported my work these past few years,” said Bolsey.

Christie Valentin-Bati’s poem “Solitude” received an honorable mention.


Sarah Borchardt
Communications Manager