“Gabriel” (Knopf), Edward Hirsch’s devastating elegy for his son, who died at the age of 22, is among the books on the longlist for this year’s National Book Award in Poetry. One of the most celebrated poets in the country, Hirsch wrote the popular “Poet’s Choice” column in The Washington Post in the early 2000s.
The NBA longlist of 10 poetry books, which was announced this morning, also includes such literary giants as Louise Glück, for “Faithful and Virtuous Night” (FSG), and Mark Strand for his “Collected Poems” (Knopf). Both Glück and Strand have served as poet laureate of the United States and won Pulitzer Prizes.
The other seven books competing for the $10,000 prize are:
“Roget’s Illusion” (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), by Linda Bierds, recipient of a 1998 MacArthur “genius” grant.
“A Several World” (Nightboat), by Brian Blanchfield.
“Second Childhood” (Graywolf), by Fanny Howe, who won the 2009 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for lifetime achievement.
“This Blue” (FSG), by Maureen N. McLane.
“The Feel Trio” (Letter Machine Editions), by Fred Moten.
“Citizen: An American Lyric” (Graywolf), by Claudia Rankine.
“The Road to Emmaus” (FSG), by Spencer Reece.
This longlist will be trimmed to five finalists on Oct. 15.
As is frequently the case with the poetry list, small nonprofit presses made a strong showing, taking four of the 10 spots. Letter Machine Editions, in Tucson, was founded just seven years ago and has published only about a dozen books. Joshua Marie Wilkinson, editor of Letter Machine, said, “We are utterly astonished, plain shocked, and couldn’t be more happy for Fred and the other terrific works on the list.”
Nightboat Books is a little older and has published about 50 books. Graywolf Press in Minneapolis may be a small press, but its poetry books have been frequent contenders for major prizes for many years. In fact, Graywolf published last year’s winner of the National Book Award in Poetry, “Incarnadine,” by Mary Szybist. (Incidentally, Szybist will be my guest for “The Life of a Poet” at the Hill Center on Sept. 17. Tickets are free, but please make reservations here.)
The judges for this year’s NBA Poetry Prize are Eileen Myles, Katie Peterson, Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Paisley Rekdal and Robert Polito, who is president of the Poetry Foundation. They considered more than 200 submissions.
The NBA longlist for young people’s literature was announced yesterday. The longlists for nonfiction and fiction will be released over the next two days. All four winners will be announced on Nov. 19 at a ceremony in New York.
Books written by U.S. citizens and published in the United States from Dec. 1, 2013, to Nov. 30, 2014, are eligible for this year’s National Book Awards.