The Poetry Foundation would like to congratulate Juan Felipe Herrera and August Kleinzahler whose books "Half of the World in Light" and "Sleeping It Off in Rapid City" have both won the 2008 National Book Critics Circle award in poetry. This is the first time two poets have shared the award.
Learn how Herrera found his voice as a poet, and read some poems from his winning collection, "Half of the World in Light" here.
Read some poems that appear in Kleinzahler's collection "Sleeping It Off in Rapid City" here.
Find out more about the NBCC winners in other categories, including Roberto Bolaño whose "2666" won for fiction, here.

Originally Published: March 13th, 2009

Catherine Halley is the editor of JSTOR Daily, an online magazine that draws connections between current affairs, historical scholarship, and other content available on JSTOR, a digital library of scholarly journals, books, and primary sources. She is the former digital director of the Poetry Foundation, where she served as editor...

  1. March 13, 2009
     Francisco Aragón

    Thank you for these great links, Cathy.

  2. March 18, 2009
     michael robbins

    Just to keep up my reputation as a pedant, in Kleinzahler's title, "It" should be capitalized, "off" lowercased, while in Herrera's "Is" should be capped. Doesn't matter how small a word is, if it's a pronoun or a verb, it should be capitalized. This is some sort of OCD problem I have, I know.

  3. March 18, 2009
     Cathy Halley

    Before anyone else notices, I got the title of Herrera's book wrong. I called it "Half the World is Light," when clearly it is "Half of the World In Light." That's what I get for using the Washington Post blog instead of Amazon to fact check...
    The Chicago Manual of Style tells me I should use lowercase for prepositions unless they're stressed. I don't know about the rest of you, but I don't stress the "of" in Herrera's title--neither do the good folks at NBCC who left the entire word out of the title on their site!
    So, I'm sticking with "Half of the World in Light."
    As for the Kleinzahler--I guess I'll go with "Sleeping It Off in Rapid City," though I sure hate the way it looks.

  4. March 18, 2009
     michael robbins

    "Unless they're stressed" makes sense to me -- thus "Sleeping It Off" would work. But no one said "of" should be capitalized! Thank you for putting up with my solecism tic.
    I actually think "Half the World Is Light" is a better title, whoever invented it. Meanwhile, maybe Harrieteers could advise me: is Herrera's book all that? I saw Burt's review in the Times, but I haven't checked it out yet.