The Constance H. Carlson Public Humanities Prize honors an individual, institution, or group in recognition of exemplary contributions to public humanities in Maine.
Maine poet Gary Lawless will receive the 2017 Constance H. Carlson Public Humanities Prize from the Maine Humanities Council. A resident of Nobleboro, Lawless owns and operates Gulf of Maine Books in Brunswick, an independent bookstore he opened in 1979 with his wife, Beth Leonard. He is the editor and publisher of Blackberry Books and has had sixteen collections of his poetry published in the United States. In addition to his own writing, Lawless has long encouraged others to find their voice with poetry, working with veterans groups, immigrant communities, and more. He also works with Spindleworks, a non-profit arts center in Brunswick whose mission is to help children and adults with disabilities achieve full and inclusive lives in their chosen community.
“Gary’s work in the community is a spectacular example of how poetry can make a meaningful difference in the lives of Mainers from all backgrounds.” – Hayden Anderson, MHC Executive Director
Born in Belfast, Lawless graduated from Colby College in 1973. He has been an artist-in-residence at the Beech Hill Preserve, the Cathance River Reserve, Isle Royale National Park in Michigan, and the Island Institute in Sitka, Alaska. In 2008 he received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Southern Maine
Lawless is the seventh person to receive the Constance H. Carlson Prize since its creation in 1998. Previous honorees include Donald Soctomah, Joseph Conforti, Neil Rolde, Northeast Historic Film, Billie Gammon, and Tabitha King. Lawless’s contributions to the state of Maine will be honored during a luncheon on March 24, 2017 at Daggett Lounge in Bowdoin College’s Thorne Hall.