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National Book Critics Circle Announces Poets Everywhere

By Harriet Staff

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The National Book Critics Circle has announced its finalists for publishing year 2012! Critical Mass, the blog for the Board of Directors of the NBCC, reports on our favorite aspect:

The poetry finalists demonstrated mastery of craft, ranging from David Ferry’s Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations (University of Chicago Press), also this year’s National Book Award winner, to Kings Tufts Award winner D. A. Powell’s Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys (Graywolf Press), and MacArthur fellow A.E. Stallings [Olives] (Triquarterly: Northwestern University Press), whose work reflects her study of the classics and love of Greece, where she now lives.

The full list of Poetry finalists:

David Ferry. Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations. University of Chicago Press

Lucia Perillo. On the Spectrum of Possible Deaths. Copper Canyon Press

Allan Peterson. Fragile Acts. McSweeney’s Books

D. A. Powell. Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys. Graywolf Press

A. E. Stallings. Olives. Triquarterly: Northwestern University Press

We’d also like to note that our current Harriet featured blogger and friend Lisa Jarnot is a finalist in the Biography category!

Lisa Jarnot, ROBERT DUNCAN: THE AMBASSADOR FROM VENUS (University of California Press). The author of four highly praised collections of poetry, in her first biography Lisa Jarnot examines the life and work of the San Francisco poet Robert Duncan, whose critical fortunes have waxed as attitudes toward homosexuality and the San Francisco Renaissance have changed. Jarnot makes an energetic case for Duncan’s lasting importance as a poet and an intellectual, and her biography should further establish him as one of the essential poets of twentieth-century America. Born in Buffalo, New York, Jarnot lives in Queens.

We’re not done yet! Maureen McLane was named an Autobiography finalist for My Poets; and poets Mary Ruefle and Kevin Young were also named as Criticism finalists for Madness, Rack, and Honey (Wave Books); and The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness (Greywolf), respectively.

Maureen N. McLane, MY POETS (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). Marking what marked her, McLane writes about the poets whose work most influenced her personally, and as a poet, in this intimate book about the life of the mind. A book of fierce intelligence, McLane writes not of the world’s best or most important poets, but rather of those whose work has touched her deeply. The author of poetry collections Same Life and World Enough, McLane is a former Junior Fellow at Harvard University; she teaches at New York University and was a Rhodes Scholar. She has also taught at University of Chicago. McLane received the NBCC’s Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in 2002. She lives in New York.

Mary Ruefle, MADNESS, RACK AND HONEY (Wave Books). Ruefle’s many books of poetry include Selected Poems (2010), Tristimania (2003), and Cold Pluto (1996); she also creates one-of-a-kind art books (visible on her website) by altering and erasing existing books. This collection of lectures, essays, and aphorisms, with its many digressions, surprises, and asides, considers the evasions and the promises of literature in general, as well as addressing particular poets and poems, such as Giacomo Leopardi and Emily Dickinson; it challenges as it instructs, and instructs as it charms, concluding with several brief “Lectures I Will Never Give.” The collection grew from lectures she gave for graduate students in the MFA program at Vermont College, where she teaches. Ruefle has won, among other awards, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America.

Kevin Young, THE GREY ALBUM: ON THE BLACKNESS OF BLACKNESS (Graywolf). Young is Atticus Haygood Professor of Creative Writing and English and the Curator of Literary Collections at Emory University. Among his seven books of poems are Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels (2011); Dear Darkness (2008); and Jelly Roll (2003). Perhaps the most honored poet of his generation, Young also served as editor for the Best American Poetry 2011 and as coeditor for the Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton (2011). He has been a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University as well as a Guggenheim Fellow. The Grey Album, Young’s first collection of his own prose, introduces, critiques, and recommends such models and monuments from the African-American—that is, American—past and present as Langston Hughes, Curtis Mayfield, and Danger Mouse (source for the title), while making larger arguments about black and white, modern and contemporary, and (not least) the author’s native Kansas.

Winners of the National Book Critics Circle book awards will be announced on Thursday, February 28, 2013, at 6:00 p.m. at the New School’s Tishman Auditorium. A finalists’ reading will be held on February 27, 2013, also at 6:00 p.m. at the New School’s Tishman Auditorium. Founded in 1974 in New York City, the NBCC is the sole award bestowed by working critics and book-review editors. For a complete list of finalists, make your way here.


Posted in Poetry News on Tuesday, January 15th, 2013 by Harriet Staff.