Annal: 1992 National Book Award for Poetry

Results of the National Book Award in the year 1992.

Book:New and Selected Poems (Mary Oliver)

New and Selected Poems

Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1984 for American Primitive, and her poems continue to delight a wide and ever-growing audience. Now, in New and Selected Poems, Oliver makes a representative collection of her work over the past twenty-seven years available for the first time. This volume includes thirty new poems as well as selections from her eight previously published books. Mary Oliver’s perceptive, brilliantly crafted poems about the natural landscape and the fundamental questions of life and death have won high praise from critics and readers alike. “Do you love this world?” she interrupts a poem about peonies to ask the reader. “Do you cherish your humble and silky life?” Oliver’s passionate demonstrations of perceptual delight are powerful reminders of the bond between every individual and the natural world.

Book:Collected Shorter Poems, 1946-1991

Collected Shorter Poems, 1946-1991

Hayden Carruth

Collected Shorter Poems, 1946-1991 presents all the lyric, short narrative, comic, meditative, nature, and erotic poetry the poet has chosen from the past forty-five years, including a section of new poems not found in his previous twenty-two books. It is an extraordinary literary event.

Hayden Carruth has been one of the most widely published and admired American poets for many years. Noted for the breadth of his linguistic and formal resources, influenced by jazz and the blues, Carruth gives his poems—whether sexual political, or narrative—a philosophical resonance that raises them beyond the ego-centered narrowness of much contemporary writing and makes them powerfully moving. Carruth is a New Englander (now living in New York), and many of his best-known poems are about the people and places of northern Vermont. His explorations of rural poverty and hardship, sometimes grim, sometimes funny, are deeply informed by political radicalism and cultural responsibility.

Book:No Nature

No Nature: New and Selected Poems

Gary Snyder

“The greatest of living nature poets. . . . It helps us to go on, having Gary Snyder in our midst.”—Los Angeles Times. Snyder is the author of many volumes of poetry and prose, including The Practice of the Wild and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Turtle Island.

Book:Rapture (Susan Mitchell)

Rapture: Poems

Susan Mitchell

Rapture is the newest collection from a remarkable voice in American poetry. Susan Mitchell’s poems are about self-discovery, and how memory and experience blend to lead us to newer, more realized and complex selves. Mitchell’s gift is her ability to see, with humor and acuity, the extraordinary within the commonplace. Whether listening to a jazz pianist reaching for new sounds as he lingers over a hotel piano or recalling a runaway child on a bus trip across America, Mitchell guides us into a world of her narratives, a world in which she creates her reality by the mere act of observing it, and this reality, at once wholly unique and deeply familiar, has an exhilarating capacity for transcendence. Combining a boldly realistic vision with graceful, evocative lyricism, and moving easily between free verse and elegant versification, Rapture confirms Mitchell’s place as one of the most compelling poets writing today.

Book:The Wild Iris

The Wild Iris

Louise Glück

The Wild Iris was written during a ten-week period in the summer of 1991. Louise Cluck’s first four collections consistently returned to the natural world, to the classical and biblical narratives that arose to explain the phenomena of this world, to provide meaning and to console. Ararat, her fifth book, offered a substitution for the received: a demotic, particularized myth of contemporary family. Now in The Wild Iris, her most important and accomplished collection to date, ecstatic imagination supplants both empiricism and tradition, creating an impassioned polyphonic exchange among the god who “disclose[s]/virtually nothing,” human beings who “leave/signs of feeling/everywhere,” and a garden where “whatever/returns from oblivion returns/ to find a voice.” The poems of this sequence see beyond mortality, the bitter discovery on which individuality depends. “To be one thing/is to be next to nothing,” Cluck challenges the reader. “Is it enough/only to look inward?” A major…[more]

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