Annal: 1998 National Book Award for Poetry

Results of the National Book Award in the year 1998.

Book:This Time

This Time: New and Selected Poems

Gerald Stern

An exhilarating new collection by the poet often applauded as the modern Walt Whitman. “For over two decades,” the Library Journal has said, “no one has equaled Gerald Stern’s compassionate, surreal parables about the burden of and the exaltation of being alive.” The poems in this substantial volume, the majority of which are no longer available in other editions, have been selected from seven previous collections (1972-1995). Along with favorite poems redeemed, Stern offers a generous array of new poems, including moving tributes to Larry Levis, “Eggshell,” and Allen Ginsberg, “Lilacs for Ginsberg.”

Book:The Art of the Lathe

The Art of the Lathe: Poems

B.H. Fairchild

B.H. Fairchild’s The Art of the Lathe is a collection of poems covering a wide range of subjects, though it centers on the working-class world of the midwest, the isolations of small-town life, and the possibilities and occasions of beauty and grace among the machine shops and oil fields of rural Kansas.

Book:Carnival Evening

Carnival Evening: New and Selected Poems: 1968-1998

Linda Pastan

This volume brings together new work along with poems gathered from nine previous collections. When Linda Pastan’s first book was published in 1971, the Jerusalem Post wrote, she “in large measure fulfilled Emerson’s dream—the revelation of ‘the miraculous in the common.’” Since then, Pastan has continued to explore the complexities, passion, and dangers under the surfaces of ordinary life. She speaks in the voices of Penelope and Eve; of daughter, mother, and wife. The new book follows work that over thirty years both darkens and deepens with time.

Book:From the Devotions

From the Devotions: Poems

Carl Phillips

With From the Devotions, Carl Phillips takes us even further into that dangerous space he has already made his own, where body and soul—ever restless—come explosively together. Speaking to a balance between decorum and pain, he offers here a devotional poetry that argues for faith, even without the comforting gods or the organized structures of revealed truth. Neither sage nor saint nor prophet, the poet is the listener, the mourner, the one who has some access to the maddening quarters of human consciousness, the wry Sibyl. From the Devotions is deeply felt, highly intelligent, and unsentimental, and cements Phillips’s reputation as a poet of enormous talent and depth.

Book:The Little Space

The Little Space: Poems Selected and New, 1968-1998

Alicia Suskin Ostriker

In this selection of poems from thirty years of a distinguished writing career, we see the growth of a poet’s mind, heart, and spirit as Ostriker struggles to love “this wounded / World that we cannot heal, that is our bride.”Whether she probes the meaning of chinalist for Poetry. In this selection of poems from thirty years of a distinguished writing career, we see the growth of a poet’s mind, heart, and spirit as Ostriker struggles to love “this wounded / World that we cannot heal, that is our bride.”Whether she probes the meaning of childhood, family, marriage, and motherhood, or art, history, politics, and God; whether she is celebrating sexuality or confronting mortality, the poet includes “whatever I can grasp of human experience within my art - the good and beautiful, the evil and chaotic. I tell my students that they must write what they are afraid to write; and I attempt to do so myself.”

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