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Jacob Saenz

Born: Chicago, Illinois
Connection to Illinois: Saenz was born in Chicago and raised in Cicero.

Biography: Poet and editor Jacob Saenz earned a BA in creative writing from Columbia College in Chicago. His first collection of poetry, Throwing the Crown was awarded the 2018 American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize. Saenz has been an editor at Columbia Poetry Review and an associate editor at RHINO. He works as an acquisitions assistant at the Columbia College library and has read his poetry at a number of Chicago venues. A CantoMundo fellow, he has also been the recipient of a Letras Latinas Residency Fellowship and a Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship.

  • Throwing the Crown 2018 Honickman First Book Award

Primary Literary Genre(s): Poetry

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers


Selected Titles

Throwing the Crown
ISBN: 0983300860 OCLC: 1022788075

American Poetry Review 2018

Winner of the prestigious Honickman First Book Award from the American Poetry Review, selected by Pulitzer Prize winner Gregory Pardlo, Throwing the Crown describes a boyhood on the edge. Set in a Chicago neighborhood dominated by gang life, Saenz sets the sweetness and vulnerability of youth against the cold reality of a gun pressed against a forehead. Full of accelerative sound―tight rhymes and short, percussive lines―these poems follow a fast-paced trajectory from danger to survival, pausing to acknowledge the beauty and humor in the details along the way.