Poetry News

13 bloggers cover 61 years of 57 National Book Award poets in 10 weeks

By Harriet Staff

For ten weeks beginning in February, The National Book Foundation will host a celebration of 61 years of National Book Awards poetry winners. Taking place both on their website and in panels and events in New York, Minneapolis, and Portland, Oregon, the series will result in an NEA-funded digital literary archive featuring images of the award-winning books' original covers, author portraits, related links, and contemporary poets' perspectives on the winners through curatorial essays.

According to the Foundation’s Director of Programs, Leslie Shipman, who developed the program along with Executive Director Harold Augenbraum and Program Manager Rebecca Keith,“This look back at our list of Poetry Winners allows us to examine the ways in which American poetry has evolved over the past sixty years, more than a century beyond the wellsprings of Dickinson and Whitman, into the multiplicity of passions it represents today. For some it is merely a list of poets whom we now consider canonical; for others it is a document of exclusion along aesthetic, gender, and racial lines. The Foundation hopes to spark a spirited discussion of where American poetry has been, where it is now, and where it might be headed as we enter a new age of possibility for this most ancient form of expression.”

The first essay, on 1950 winner William Carlos Williams, will go up February 14th to kick off the daily blog. Bloggers for the series include: