Annal: 1994 National Book Award for Poetry

Results of the National Book Award in the year 1994.

Book:Worshipful Company of Fletchers

Worshipful Company of Fletchers

James Tate

Masterfully drawing on a variety of voices and characters, James Tate joyfully offers his first book since winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1992 for his Selected Poems. The book covers a vast range of images; a child’s shoe in the road, a word on the kitchen counter “next to the pitcher of cream / with its blue cornflowers bent,” a retired eland that “watches television from early morning until late at night.” But each image can exist only in the context of its poem, where it becomes something greater, where it underlines all that is elusive about human experience…. Tate’s language moves out in concentric circles from precise details of dialogue and landscape to these deeper regions of suffering and unspeakable beauty—always with gentle humor and compassion. Worshipful Company of Fletchers brings us once again to the presence of a great artist who is able to transform his “own backyard” into a place all of us recognize.

Book:An Altogether Different Language

An Altogether Different Language

Anne Porter

An Altogether Different Language, a long-awaited first collection of poems written over the past sixty years, introduces Anne Porter as a poet of startling insight and wisdom. This is a spiritual collection filled with great respect for life and nature. Anne Porter has a remarkable talent for making the intangible visual through simple and elegant language.

Book:Hinge & Sign

Hinge & Sign: Poems, 1968-1993

Heather McHugh

A renowned poet’s artful collection.

Book:Like Most Revelations

Like Most Revelations: New Poems

Richard Howard

This brilliant collection of poems by one of America’s most distinguished men of letters shows Richard Howard in a new phase: stronger, more resonant, more distinctive than ever. Two long, dramatic poems serve as the beginning and end of Like Most Revelations. In each, intimate perceptions are linked with the forces of the larger world: the world in which the speakers age, argue, founder, and face their fates. In between are twenty-seven poems ranging from monologue and epistle to elegy and satire. There are meditations on graffiti and Mozart, tributes to Samuel Beckett and Donald Barthelme, among others. Here too are poems of remembered identification and of dazed renunciation; poems of praise and poems of lamentation. Harold Bloom has called Richard Howard “the Robert Browning of our century,” and certainly the monologues here have a power similar to Browning’s. But they are also as immediate as today’s newspaper. Superbly crafted and impressively varied, Like Most Revelations is Richard Howard’s finest book of poems to date.

Book:Study for the World's Body

Study for the World's Body: New and Selected Poems

David St. John

Study for the World’s Body showcases the work of one of America’s most celebrated and groundbreaking poets. In this remarkable and powerful new collection, he has selected the most evocative and well-loved poems from his earlier books and combined them with dazzling new ones. In 1976, St. John made his poetic debut with the publication of Hush, a book that immediately established him as a writer of astonishing power and vision, and revealed the theme that has proven central to his writing throughout his career: desire. In Hush and the three collections that follow it, desire plays out its drama on the body. St. John explores both its physical, erotic manifestations and its spiritual ones with intellectual rigor and an emotional engagement that vibrates with intensity.

In his latest poems, St. John has turned his attention more acutely to the moral dimension of desire, writing about the…[more]

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