Lost & Found is proud to announce that our General Editor, Professor Ammiel Alcalay (GC/Queens, English), has won an American Book Award in recognition of his work as the founder and general editor of Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative, a chapbook series that features genre-bending writing of important 20th century writers.

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The American Book Awards, awarded annually by the Before Columbus Foundation since 1978, honor outstanding achievement and contributions to diversity in American literature. Other winners of this year’s awards include the novelist Yaa Gyasi and author-activist Nancy Mercado. 

Recipients are chosen by other writers in a process that involves neither nominations nor categories. “It’s an alternative to the East Coast awards, and they’re often way ahead of the curve,” said Alcalay. “To me, it’s the most meaningful award in the country, and I’m very honored to have won it.”  

Lost & Found, which published its first series in 2010, presents works by poets and writers that fall outside the categories of poetry and fiction, such as lectures and journals.  

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Alcalay initiated the series and collaborates with students and fellows at the GC to edit each issue. The project is based at the GC’s Center for the Humanities

“The writers we focus on were thinkers and activists, and we’re constantly looking for other materials they’ve worked on,” Alcalay said. “Writers have been narrowly construed, and we want to publish things people haven’t thought about and that have been sitting in the archives.”

Lost & Found Series VI, published 2016, presented work by Gregory Corso, Judy Grahn, Bobbie Louise Hawkins, and Ted Joans. Juan Felipe Herrera, the U.S. Poet Laureate from 2015 to 2017, said of the series: “The Lost & Found project is a place where I go to find myself again — I meet geniuses and early-day friends that I met on the road like Kathy Acker, Diane di Prima, & Adrienne Rich.”  

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Alcalay, in addition to his work for Lost & Found, is a poet, novelist, translator, critic, scholar, and activist. His most recent books include little history (UpSet press, 2013), neither wit nor gold: from then (Ugly Duckling, 2011), and Islanders (City Lights, 2010).

The American Book Awards will be presented in San Francisco in October.

Congratulations to Ammiel Alcalay on this well-deserved American Book Award recognizing his intensive, sustained, and meticulous work on Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative.

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