The shortlists for the National Book Awards were announced today and the finalists for the poetry award are: Louise Glück; Fanny Howe; Maureen N. McLane; Fred Moten and; Claudia Rankine. Robert Polito, President of the Poetry Foundation, heads a panel of five judges who will decide this year's honoree.
Nominated for the fourth time, Louise Glück is a former Poet Laureate of the United States and Pulitzer Prize winner. Faithful and Virtuous Night (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) "tells a single story, but the parts are mutable and the great sweep of its narrative mysterious and fateful, heartbreaking, and charged with wonder."
The author of more than twenty books of poetry and prose, Fanny Howe received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize from the Poetry Foundation for lifetime achievement in 2009. In Second Childhood, (Graywolf Press) "the observing poet is an impersonal figure who accompanies Howe in her encounters with chance and mystery. She is not one age or the other, in one time or another."
Maureen N. McLane was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award in Autobiography for My Poets — an experimental hybrid of memoir and criticism. This year, she is nominated for her third poetry collection, This Blue (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). This Blue is comprised of, "songs for and of a new century, poems both archaic and wholly now."
In 2009, Fred Moten was recognized as one of ten “New American Poets” by the Poetry Society of America. The co-founder and co-publisher of a small literary press called Three Count Pour is being celebrated for The Feel Trio (Letter Machine Editions). Moten’s poetry, "sits upright in the spit sizzling off yesterday’s breakfast bacon, sputtering and growling as it engages readers in an across-the-board wake up call" wrote Patrick James Dunagan in reviewing The Feel Trio for The Rumpus.
With four collections of poetry and a turn as a judge for the National Book Award for Poetry in 2006 behind her, Claudia Rankine is being honored with her latest effort — Citizen: An American Lyric (Graywolf Press). "In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named 'post-race' society."
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 2014 National Book Award, a book must have been written by a US citizen and published in the United States between December 1, 2013 and November 30, 2014. Publishers submitted a total of 219 books for the 2014 National Book Award in Poetry.
The winners will be announced on November 19 at a ceremony in New York City.