Annal: 1996 National Book Award for Poetry

Results of the National Book Award in the year 1996.

Book:Scrambled Eggs & Whiskey

Scrambled Eggs & Whiskey: Poems, 1991-1995

Hayden Carruth

There can be no doubt that Hayden Carruth is one of the pre-eminent American poets of the late twentieth century. In these poems written since publication of his Collected Shorter Poems, 1946-1991, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, he speaks with intimate and urgent clarity of love late in life, and in heartrending poems addresses his daughter’s struggle against cancer. In others he engages the loves, friendships, and social concerns of a lifetime. With passion and pathos and great good humor, in poems that could only be written by a mature poet at the height of his powers, Carruth achieves a nobility of vision that is rare in any age.

Book:The Crack in Everything

The Crack in Everything

Alicia Suskin Ostriker

This newest volume of poetry from Alicia Suskin Ostriker is her most ambitious to date, ranging from laments and celebrations for a flawed world to meditations on art and artists, to a powerful exploration of illness and healing.

Book:Sun Under Wood

Sun Under Wood

Robert Hass

Robert Hass demonstrates once again the unmistakable intelligence and original voice that have won him both literary acclaim and the affection of a broad general readership. Here Hass extends and deepens his ongoing explorations of nature and human history, solitude, and the bonds of children, parents, and lovers. Here his passion for apprehending experience with language—for creating experience with language—finds supple form in poems that embrace all that is alive and full of joy. Sun Under Wood is the most impressive collection yet from one of our most accomplished poets.

Book:The Terrible Stories

The Terrible Stories: Poems

Lucille Clifton

Lucille Clifton is one of the most distinguished American poets writing today. In The Terrible Stories, her tenth collection of verse, Clifton covers new terrain—cancer and mastectomy, the life of King David, encounters with a vixen fox who is both shaman and muse. Brilliantly honed language, stunning images and sharp rhythms addresses the whole of human experience: birth, death, children, family, sexuality and spirituality, and community in antebellum and contemporary American culture. Hers is a poetry passionate and wise, not afraid to rage or whisper.

Book:Walking the Black Cat

Walking the Black Cat

Charles Simic

In this latest collection of poems, Charles Simic, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, brings us startling new visions of the haunted landscape that has been his oeuvre, where the surreal and the mundane, the sacred and profane, are indistinguishable, a world where “everything is teetering on the edge of everything/With a polite smile.” A man waits at a bus stop for the love of his life, a woman (Lady Luck?) he’s never met. The world’s greatest ventriloquist who sits on a street corner uses passersby as dummies and speaks through us all. Hamlet’s ghost walks the hallways of a Vegas motel. Sunlight streams through a windowpane of fire. Mary Magdalene cruises Santa Monica Boulevard. Flies from a slaughterhouse leave bloody tracks across the pages of a book. Jesus panhandles in a weed-infested Eden.

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