Special Collections

National Book Award Winners - Poetry

Description: The National Book Awards are presented annually "to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of good writing in America." Here we present the medal winners for Poetry. #award #adults


Showing 1 through 25 of 42 results
 

Ashes

by Philip Levine

Won the National Book Award for Poetry in 1980.

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1980

Bewilderment

by David Ferry

Winner of the 2012 National Book Award for Poetry.

To read David Ferry's Bewilderment is to be reminded that poetry of the highest order can be made by the subtlest of means. The passionate nature and originality of Ferry's prosodic daring works astonishing transformations that take your breath away. In poem after poem, his diction modulates beautifully between plainspoken high eloquence and colloquial vigor, making his distinctive speech one of the most interesting and ravishing achievements of the past half century. Ferry has fully realized both the potential for vocal expressiveness in his phrasing and the way his phrasing plays against--and with--his genius for metrical variation. His vocal phrasing thus becomes an amazingly flexible instrument of psychological and spiritual inquiry. Most poets write inside a very narrow range of experience and feeling, whether in free or metered verse. But Ferry's use of meter tends to enhance the colloquial nature of his writing, while giving him access to an immense variety of feeling. Sometimes that feeling is so powerful it's like witnessing a volcanologist taking measurements in the midst of an eruption.

Ferry's translations, meanwhile, are amazingly acclimated English poems. Once his voice takes hold of them they are as bred in the bone as all his other work. And the translations in this book are vitally related to the original poems around them.

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 2012

Blessing the Boats

by Lucille Clifton

This long-awaited collection from one of the most distinguished poets working today includes new poems written during the past four years as well as generous selections from previous collections.

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 2000

Buckdancer's Choice

by James Dickey

Whoever looks to a new book by James Dickey for further work in an established mode, or for mere novelty, is going to be disappointed. But those who seek instead a true widening of the horizons of meaning, coupled with a sure-handed mastery of the craft of poetry, will find this latest collection satisfying indeed.Here is a man who matches superb gifts with a truly subtle imagination, into whose depths he is courageously traveling--pioneering--in exploratory penetrations into areas of life that are too often evaded or denied. "The Firebombing," "Slave Quarters," "The Fiend"--these poems, with the others that comprise the present volume, show a mature and original poet at his finest.

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1966

The Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov

by Howard Nemerov

The former Poet Laureate of the United States, Nemerov gives us a lucid and precise twist on the commonplaces of everyday life.

The Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize in 1978.

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1978

The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens

by Wallace Stevens

This definitive poetry collection, originally published in 1954 to honor Stevens on his 75th birthday, contains:

- "Harmonium"

- "Ideas of Order"

- "The Man With the Blue Guitar"

- "Parts of the World"

- "Transport Summer"

- "The Auroras of Autumn"

- "The Rock"

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1955

The Complete Poems 1927-1979

by Elizabeth Bishop

From the book: "So many stops and looks But never any listens For a poor man who traps A snowstorm that glistens."

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1970

Country Music

by Charles Wright and David St. John

Country Music is comprised of eighty-eight poems selected from Charles Wright's first four books published between 1970 and 1977.

From his first book, The Grave of the Right Hand, to the extraordinary China Trace, this selection of early works represents "Charles Wright's grand passions: his desire to reclaim and redeem a personal past, to make a reckoning with his present, and to conjure the terms by which we might face the future," writes David St. John in the forward. These poems, powerful and moving in their own right, lend richness and insight to Wright's recently collected later works. "In Country Music we see the same explosive imagery, the same dismantled and concentric (or parallel) narratives, the same resolutely spiritual concerns that have become so familiar to us in Wright's more recent poetry," writes St. John.

Co-winner of the 1983 National Book Award for Poetry

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1983

Diving into the Wreck

by Adrienne Rich

In her seventh volume of poetry, Adrienne Rich searches to reclaim--to discover--what has been forgotten, lost, or unexplored.

"I came to explore the wreck. / The words are purposes. / The words are maps. / I came to see the damage that was done / and the treasures that prevail." These provocative poems move with the power of Rich's distinctive voice.

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1974

Door in the Mountain

by Jean Valentine

Since the 1965 publication of her first book, Dream Barker, selected for the Yale Younger Poets Award, Jean Valentine has published eight collections of poetry to critical acclaim. Spare and intensely-felt, Valentine's poems present experience as only imperfectly graspable. This volume gathers together all of Valentine's published poems and includes a new collection, "Door in the Mountain."Valentine's poetry is as recognizable as the slant truth of a dream. She is a brave, unshirking poet who speaks with fire on the great subjects--love, and death, and the soul. Her images--strange, canny visions of the unknown self--clang with the authenticity of real experience. This is an urgent art that wants to heal what it touches, a poetry that wants to tell, intimately, the whole life.

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 2004

Faithful And Virtuous Night

by Louise Glück

Winner of the 2014 National Book Award for Poetry

A luminous, seductive new collection from the “fearless” (The New York Times) Pulitzer Prize–winning poet

Louise Glück is one of the finest American poets at work today. Her Poems 1962–2012 was hailed as “a major event in this country’s literature” in the pages of The New York Times. Every new collection is at once a deepening and a revelation. Faithful and Virtuous Night is no exception.

You enter the world of this spellbinding book through one of its many dreamlike portals, and each time you enter it’s the same place but it has been arranged differently. You were a woman. You were a man. This is a story of adventure, an encounter with the unknown, a knight’s undaunted journey into the kingdom of death; this is a story of the world you’ve always known, that first primer where “on page three a dog appeared, on page five a ball” and every familiar facet has been made to shimmer like the contours of a dream, “the dog float[ing] into the sky to join the ball.” Faithful and Virtuous Night tells a single story but the parts are mutable, the great sweep of its narrative mysterious and fateful, heartbreaking and charged with wonder.

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 2014

The Fall of America

by Allen Ginsberg

Beginning with "long poem of these States," The Fall of America continues Planet News chronicle tape-recorded scribed by hand or sung condensed, the flux of car bus airplane dream consciousness Person during Automated Electronic War years, newspaper headline radio brain auto poesy & silent desk musings, headline flashing on road through these states of consciousness ...

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1974

The Far Field

by Theodore Roethke

With Roethke's sudden, tragic death in 1963, a great poetic career was brought to an untimely end. "The Far Field" presents the most rewarding of his many volumes of poetry, both in brilliance of style and inner meaning. All of the poems have appeared previously in periodicals such as "The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, Ladies' Home Journal, The New Yorker", and "The Partisan Review".

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1965

Fire to Fire

by Mark Doty

Mark Doty's Fire to Fire collects the best of his seven books of poetry, along with a generous selection of new work. His signature style encompasses both the plainspoken and the artfully wrought, as one of contemporary American poetry's most lauded, recognizable voices speaks to the crises and possibilities of our time.

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 2008

Garbage

by A. R. Ammons

A book-length poem, "Garbage" is an epic of ideas: all life -- not that of human beings alone, but every species -- is shown to be part of an ultimate reality. Eternity is here and now. The argument ranges widely with a wealth of images taken from science, and the world around us, the writing by turns impassioned and witty.

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1993

Half-Light

by Frank Bidart

Gathered together, the poems of Frank Bidart perform one of the most remarkable transmutations of the body into language in contemporary literature. His pages represent the human voice in all its extreme registers, whether it’s that of the child-murderer Herbert White, the obsessive anorexic Ellen West, the tormented genius Vaslav Nijinsky, or the poet’s own.

Winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

Date Added: 02/12/2018


Year: 2017

Head Off & Split

by Nikky Finney

Winner, 2011 National Book Award for Poetry

Winner, 2012 GLCS Award for Poetry

Winner, 2012 SIBA Book Award for Poetry

Nominee, 2012 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry

The poems in Nikky Finney’s breathtaking new collection Head Off & Split sustain a sensitive and intense dialogue with emblematic figures and events in African American life: from civil rights matriarch Rosa Parks to former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, from a brazen girl strung out on lightning to a terrified woman abandoned on a rooftop during Hurricane Katrina. Finney’s poetic voice is defined by an intimacy that holds a soft yet exacting eye on the erotic, on uncanny political and family events, like her mother’s wedding waltz with South Carolina senator Strom Thurmond, and then again on the heartbreaking hilarity of an American president’s final State of the Union address.

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 2011

Incarnadine

by Mary Szybist

In Incarnadine, Mary Szybist restlessly seeks out places where meaning might take on new color. One poem is presented as a diagrammed sentence. Another is an abecedarium made of lines of dialogue spoken by girls overheard while assembling a puzzle. Several poems arrive as a series of Annunciations, while others purport to give an update on Mary, who must finish the dishes before she will open herself to God. One poem appears on the page as spokes radiating from a wheel, or as a sunburst, or as the cycle around which all times and all tenses are alive in this moment. Szybist's formal innovations are matched by her musical lines, by her poetry's insistence on singing as a lure toward the unknowable. Inside these poems is a deep yearning-for love, motherhood, the will to see things as they are and to speak. Beautiful and inventive, Incarnadine is the new collection by one of America's most ambitious poets.

Winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Poetry

An NPR, Slate, Oregonian, Kansas City Star, Willamette Week, and Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year * Amazon's Best Book of the Year in Poetry 2013 *

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 2013

Indecency

by Justin Phillip Reed

Indecency is boldly and carefully executed and perfectly ragged. In these poems, Justin Phillip Reed experiments with language to explore inequity and injustice and to critique and lament the culture of white supremacy and the dominant social order. Political and personal, tender, daring, and insightful--the author unpacks his intimacies, weaponizing poetry to take on masculinity, sexuality, exploitation, and the prison industrial complex and unmask all the failures of the structures into which society sorts us.

Date Added: 02/19/2019


Year: 2018

In the Next Galaxy

by Ruth Stone

Ruth Stone writes with crackling intelligence from the vantage point of an aging and impoverished woman. Wise, sardonic, crafty, and misleadingly simple, Stone loves heavy themes but loathes heavy poems.

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 2002

Life Studies and For the Union Dead

by Robert Lowell

The title poem of For the Union Dead concerns the death of the Civil War hero (and Lowell ancestor) Robert Gould Shaw, but it also largely centers on the contrast between Boston's idealistic past and its debased present at the time of its writing, in the early 1960's. Throughout, Lowell addresses contemporaneous subjects in a voice and style that themselves push beyond the accepted forms and constraints of the time.

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1960

The Light Around the Body

by Robert Bly

National Book Award for Poetry 1968.

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1968

Lighthead

by Terrance Hayes

Winner of the 2010 National Book Award for Poetry

In his fourth collection, Terrance Hayes investigates how we construct experience. With one foot firmly grounded in the everyday and the other hovering in the air, his poems braid dream and reality into a poetry that is both dark and buoyant. Cultural icons as diverse as Fela Kuti, Harriet Tubman, and Wallace Stevens appear with meditations on desire and history. We see Hayes testing the line between story and song in a series of stunning poems inspired by the Pecha Kucha, a Japanese presenta­tion format. This innovative collection presents the light- headedness of a mind trying to pull against gravity and time. Fueled by an imagination that enlightens, delights, and ignites, Lighthead leaves us illuminated and scorched.

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 2010

Mirabell

by James Merrill

A collection of poems.

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1979

The Need To Hold Still

by Lisel Mueller

Winner of the National Book Award for Poetry in 1981.

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1981


Showing 1 through 25 of 42 results