Poetry News

2018 National Book Awards Shortlist for Poetry Announced

By Harriet Staff
National Book Foundation Logo

This morning, the good folks at BuzzFeed announced the finalists for the National Book Awards. In the poetry category, we see familiar names aside poets with first books. Now, for the list:

Rae Armantrout, Wobble (Wesleyan University Press)

Terrance Hayes, American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin (Penguin Random House)

Diana Khoi Nguyen, Ghost Of (Omnidawn Publishign)

Justin Phillip Reed, Indecency (Coffee House Press)

Jenny Xie, Eye Level (Graywolf Press)

At the National Book Foundation's site, the organization who sponsors the award, the judges write of the list:

Teetering on the edge of the American Dream, Pulitzer Prize winner Rae Armantrout’s Wobble seeks to both playfully and forcefully evoke the devastation of a chaotic, unstoppable culture. In American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin, National Book Award Winner Terrance Hayes works through fear, bewilderment, and ambivalence as he grapples with a moment in American history both new and entirely too familiar. In her debut collection, Ghost Of, Diana Khoi Nguyen explores the liminality of mourning, reaching out toward the memories and voids left behind by a lost loved one. Questions of systemic hostility and the struggle against oppressive institutions live at the heart of Justin Phillip Reed’s Indecency, which seeks to intimately confront issues of masculinity, sexuality, racism, and more, working to both critique and lament a culture of exploitation. Interiority and restlessness permeate Jenny Xie’s Eye Level, which meditates on the itinerant body and identity, examining shifting and rarely solidifying experiences of solitude, estrangement, and belonging.

Congrats to all the finalists! Tune in Wednesday, November 14 for this year's award winners.