The Minneapolis-based McKnight Foundation has announced poet John Caddy as its 2012 McKnight Distinguished Artist.
Now in its fifteenth year, the annual McKnight Distinguished Artist program recognizes individual Minnesota artists who have made significant contributions to the quality of the state's cultural life; the award's winner receives a $50,000 cash prize. Caddy, whose career has spanned almost five decades, has presented his poetry across the United States and extensively in Cornwall, England, where his ancestors worked in the mines. His collections of poetry include Eating the Sting, The Color of Mesabi Bones, Presences the Blood Learns Again, Morning Earth: Field Notes in Poetry, and With Mouths Wide Open: New & Selected Poems.
In the 1960s, Caddy began teaching at the University of Minnesota's College of Education and helped create the Minnesota Poets in the Schools Program, which later became Community Programs in the Arts and Sciences (COMPAS). In the 1970s, he co-founded Sundog Center, a residential center for environmental education near Itasca State Park in northern Minnesota. Through his nonprofit Morning Earth site, he sends a daily e-mail with a poem and nature photo to thousands of subscribers around the world.
"John Caddy models a life of devotion to craft, to humanity, and to our natural world," said McKnight Foundation president Kate Wolford. "Minnesotan to the core, he is at once an outstanding artist and an inspiring environmentalist, an exceptional representative of our state's arts community. I am delighted to honor John Caddy as the 2012 McKnight Distinguished Artist."