National Book Award ‘longlist’ for poetry

September 17, 2013
(Courtesy of Coffee House Press)
(Courtesy of Coffee House Press)

Andrei Codrescu, the Romanian American filmmaker and writer frequently heard on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” is a finalist for this year’s poetry prize from the National Book Foundation. His new book, “So Recently Rent a World” (Coffee House), collects his poetry from 1968-2012.

This morning, the National Book Foundation continued its day-by-day release of the ‘longlists’ for each of four categories by announcing the 10 finalists for the National Book Award in poetry.

Although the list includes a number of  accomplished poets, few are so well known outside the poetry world as Codrescu. Indeed, the foundation observed that “nine of the 10 authors are receiving National Book Award recognition for the first time.”

Frank Bidart, a professor at Wellesley College, may be the most celebrated of the writers on the longlist. A three-time finalist for the NBA, he has been nominated this year for “Metaphysical Dog” (FSG).

The newest poet on the longlist is Matt Rasmussen, whose debut collection, “Black Aperture” (Louisiana State University), has already won the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets.

Longtime readers of The Washington Post will remember Robert Hass’s “Poet’s Choice” column, which ran from 1997-2000. This year, his wife, Brenda Hillman, the author of nine previous poetry collections, is on the longlist for her new book, “Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire” (Wesleyan University).

The other poetry collections on the longlist are:

Roger Bonair-Agard, “Bury My Clothes” (Haymarket).

Lucie Brock-Broido, “Stay, Illusion” (Knopf).

Adrian Matejka, “The Big Smoke” (Penguin).

Diane Raptosh, “American Amnesiac” (Etruscan).

Martha Ronk, Transfer of Qualities” (Omnidawn).

Mary Szybist, “Incarnadine: Poems” (Graywolf).

(Courtesy of Wesleyan University)
(Courtesy of Wesleyan University)

National Book Award-winner Nikky Finney is the chair of this year’s poetry panel. Her fellow judges, Ada Limón, D.A. Powell, Jahan Ramazani and Craig Morgan Teicher, considered more than 200 collections of poetry published by United States citizens.

The longlists for the nonfiction and fiction categories will be announced Wednesday and Thursday. The longlist for the prize in young people’s literature was released on Monday.

These lists will be narrowed to five finalists in each category on Oct. 16. The winners will be revealed on Nov. 20 in New York.

Ron Charles is the editor of The Washington Post's Book World. For a dozen years, he enjoyed teaching American literature and critical theory in the Midwest, but finally switched to journalism when he realized that if he graded one more paper, he'd go crazy.
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Chris Richards | September 16, 2013