Willingboro native wins Pulitzer for poetry

 Add poet Gregory Pardlo to the list of township natives who have achieved national recognition.

Pardlo, 46, who grew up in the township and graduated from Willingboro High School in the late 1980s, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his collection “Digest.”

The arts and journalism awards were announced Monday night by Columbia University.

Judges cited Pardlo’s “clear-voiced poems that bring readers the news from 21st Century America, rich with thought, ideas and histories public and private.”

Living in Brooklyn, New York, Pardlo is an associate editor for the literary journal Callaloo and a teaching fellow at Columbia University.

His selection was cheered by officials in his hometown and across Burlington County, who said it should inspire pride in the township.

“It’s wonderful. God bless him,” Mayor Eddie Campbell Jr. said Tuesday. “It’s inspirational for others to know that someone from town can win a Pulitzer.”

State Assemblyman Troy Singleton, who also hails from Willingboro, said Pardlo’s success should be a source of pride for the entire community.

“This is a great honor that is a testament to the excellent work that Mr. Pardlo has produced,” said Singleton, D-7th of Palmyra. “His award-winning piece ‘Digest’ is an artful journey through the channels of the written word. As a fellow Willingboro native, I could not be more proud of his success.”