With "Poetry and the Fate of the Senses," Stewart explores the pivotal role of poetry in contemporary culture. Her study draws on readings from the ancient Greeks to the postmodern poets to explain how poetry creates meanings between persons. She argues that poetry can counter the denigration of the senses and can expand our imagination of the range of human expression.
Stewart, a poet and a MacArthur Fellow, teaches the history of lyric poetry, aesthetics and the philosophy of literature and cultural studies at Penn.
The Phi Beta Kappa Senate established the award in 1950 in honor of the late Christian Gauss, the Princeton University scholar, teacher and dean who also served as president of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.
This award is the third major prize won by the Penn English Department in the last four years, following those won by Peter Stallybrass (Lowell Prize, 2001) and David Wallace (Lowell Prize, 1998).