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Two Pulitzers and a finalist have Minnesota ties

Composer Kevin Puts

The composer of a Minnesota Opera commission and a poet published by Graywolf Press have just won Pulitzer Prizes, it was announced this afternoon. A second Minnesota press, Coffee House, can claim a finalist for the prestigious award.

Young composer Kevin Puts won the Pulitzer Prize in Music for “Silent Night: Opera in Two Acts” about the Christmas truce of 1914 on World War I’s Western front. The Pulitzer board praised it for “displaying versatility of style and cutting straight to the heart.”

Premiered by the Minnesota Opera last November, “Silent Night” was the brainchild of artistic director Dale Johnson, who saw the French film “Joyeux Noël,” then brought Puts and librettist Mark Campbell together. Here’s Michael Anthony’s article about the project.

Tracy K. Smith won the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for “Life on Mars,” published by Graywolf Press in Minneapolis. The board called it “a collection of bold, skillful poems, taking readers into the universe and moving them to an authentic mix of joy and pain.”

Nominated as a finalist in the poetry category was “How Long” by Ron Padgett, published by Coffee House Press, also in Minneapolis.

A list of winners and finalists is available here.

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by george woytanowitz on 04/17/2012 - 10:07 am.

    Silent Night

    Before we get excited over this can anyone name last year’s winner of the music prize? or the composition?

  2. Submitted by Susan Herridge on 04/17/2012 - 03:01 pm.

    one more Minnesota connection on the Pulitzer list

    Pulitzer finalist in the nonfiction category, Mara Hvistendahl, author of Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men, was born in Northfield and raised in the Twin Cities. Proud mother Laura Danielson is chair of the Immigration Department at Fredrikson and Byron. This was Mara’s first book, and its a doozy. A must read. More info here:

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