Annal: 1991 National Book Award for Poetry

Results of the National Book Award in the year 1991.

Book:What Work Is

What Work Is: Poems

Philip Levine

If there is such a thing as a working man’s poet, then Philip Levine is it. Born into a blue-collar family in Detroit, Levine grew up amidst the steel mills and auto factories of Motor City. Laboring in the plants radicalized both Levine’s politics and his art; in early works such as On the Edge and Not This Pig, he explored the gritty despair of urban working-class life, a reality that has continued to run through his later poetry as well. In his 1991 National Book Award-winning What Work Is, Levine revisits the scenes of his youth—only now…

Book:An Atlas of the Difficult World

An Atlas of the Difficult World: Poems 1988-1991

Adrienne Rich

“This is no place you ever knew me,” writes Adrienne Rich in her major new work, “…These are not the roads/you knew me by.” As always in her forty-year career, this major poet has mapped out new territory , astonishing and enlightening us with her penetrating insight into our lives amid the beauties and cruelties of our difficult world.



Linda McCarriston

“This is an immensely moving book, fearless in its passion. Linda McCarriston accomplishes a near miracle, transforming memories of trauma into poems that are luminous and often sacramental, arriving at a hard-won peace.” —Lisel Mueller

Book:The Homeplace

The Homeplace

Marilyn Nelson Waniek

Marilyn Nelson Waniek is a teller of family tales whose black roots in the South quickly embrace us all. Maybe best, Waniek has the full range of a blues singer’s passion, from bitterness to joy, and she shows why in the right hands poetry’s cry of the heart is still strong and still fresh.

Book:The Never-Ending

The Never-Ending: New Poems

Andrew Hudgins

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