Alumni News, Awards and Honors

Devon Walker-Figueroa ‘15 Awarded Levis Reading Prize for 'Philomath'

Devon Walker-Figueroa '15 is the recipient of the 25th Annual Levis Reading Prize for her poetry collection Philomath.

Image of Devon Walker-Figueroa by Ken Barton

The Levis Writing Prize is awarded annually for the best first or second book of poetry published in the previous calendar year and chosen by the MFA in Creative Writing program at Virginia Commonwealth University. The prize honors the memory of poet Larry Levis, who was a VCU faculty member at the time of his death in 1996.

Walker-Figueroa will receive an award of $5,000 and will give a reading from her work at 7 p.m. on Sept. 30 in the James Branch Cabell Library on the VCU campus and via livestream.

Philomath, Walker-Figueroa’s debut full-length poetry collection, was published by Milkweed Editions in 2021 and was selected by Sally Keith for the 2020 National Poetry Series. Philomath also was shortlisted for the National Book Critic Circle’s 2021 John Leonard Prize for Best First Book. Walker-Figueroa’s writing has also appeared in The NationPOETRY, the American Poetry ReviewPloughsharesZyzzyva, and elsewhere. She is a 2022-2023 Amy Lowell Traveling Scholar and the recipient of the New England Review’s 2018 Emerging Writer Award, the 2021 Poetry Society of America’s Lucille Medwick Award, and several notable scholarships. Walker-Figueroa received her education from Cornell University, Bennington College, the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, and New York University, where she was the Jill Davis Fellow in fiction.