Simmons's own Professor Afaa Weaver has won the $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award
for his book The Government of Nature
(University of Pittsburgh Press). This award, established by Claremont Graduate University, is given annually to a mid-career poet and is one of the largest monetary poetry prizes in the United States.
The Government of Nature is Weaver's 12th collection of poetry. In it, Weaver explores the trauma of his childhood - including sexual abuse - using a "cartography and thematic structure drawn from Chinese spiritualism." Weaver is a practitioner of Daoism, and this collection deals directly with the abuse in the context of Daoist renderings of nature as metaphor for the human body.
No stranger to awards, Weaver has received two Pushcart Awards, the May Sarton Award, and the PDI Award in playwriting from ETA Creative Arts Foundation. Weaver has received fellowships from the NEA, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the Pew foundation, as well as a Fulbright appointment to Taiwan. As a translator he works in Chinese with poets living in China and Taiwan. Weaver's work has been published in The New York Times and The Huffington Post.
Weaver came to Simmons in 1998 after receiving tenure with distinction at Rutgers University. At Simmons he is a tenured full professor and holds the Alumnae Endowed Chair, the first chair to be established at the college and one that is reserved for working writers.