The shortlists for the National Book Awards were announced today and the nominees for the poetry award are: Frank Bidart; Lucie Brock-Broido; Adrian Matejka; Matt Rasmussen and; Mary Szybist. Nikky Finney who won the 2011 National Book Award for Poetry for her fourth volume of poetry – Head Off & Split heads a panel of five judges who will decide this year's honoree.
Nominated for the fourth time, Frank Bidart is a recipient of the Wallace Stevens Award and the Bollingen Prize, and a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize. In Metaphysical Dog (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Bidart explores the nexus of words and sex, art and flesh. The result stands among this deeply adventurous poet’s most powerful and achieved work, an emotionally naked, fearlessly candid journey through many of the central axes, the central conflicts, of his life, and ours.
Lucie Brock-Broido is the author of three previous collections of poetry. In Stay, Illusion (Alfred A. Knopf) Brock-Broido illuminates the broken but beautiful world she inhabits where each poem is a rebellious chain of words. She is Director of Poetry in the School of the Arts at Columbia University.
Adrian Matejka’s third work of poetry, The Big Smoke (Penguin Poets/Penguin Group USA) is part historic reclamation and part interrogation of boxer Jack Johnson’s complicated legacy, one that often misremembers the magnetic man behind the myth. Born in Nuremberg, Germany, Matejka teaches creative writing at Indiana University in Bloomington.
In Matt Rasmussen's debut collection, Black Aperture (Louisiana State University Press) he faces the tragedy of his brother's suicide, refusing to focus on the expected pathos, blurring the edge between grief and humor. His manuscript for Black Aperture was the winner of the 2012 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets.
Mary Szybist’s Incarnadine: Poems (Graywolf Press) offers intimate spaces and stagings for experiences that are exploratory and sometimes explosive. In a world where we are so often asked to choose sides, to believe or not believe, to embrace or reject, Incarnadine offers lyrical and brilliantly inventive alternatives.
For the first time the National Book Foundation is making available excerpts from the shortlisted authors. The free ebook series – The Contenders – is available for download in a variety of formats.
Since 1950 the National Book Awards has become one of the nation's most prestigious literary prizes. It's first recipient in poetry was William Carlos Williams. To be eligible for a 2013 National Book Award, a book must have been written by a US citizen and published in the United States between December 1, 2012 and November 30, 2013. Publishers submitted a total of 209 books for the 2013 National Book Award in Poetry.
The winner of the National Book Award for Poetry will be announced on November 20 in New York City.