Annal: 2005 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize

Results of the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize in the year 2005.

Book:The Displaced of Capital

The Displaced of Capital

Anne Winters

The long-awaited follow-up to The Key to the City—a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1986—Anne Winters’s The Displaced of Capital emanates a quiet and authoritative passion for social justice, embodying the voice of a subtle, sophisticated conscience.

The “displaced” in the book’s title refers to the poor, the homeless, and the disenfranchised who populate New York, the city that serves at once as gritty backdrop, city of dreams, and urban nightmare. Winters also addresses the culturally, ethnically, and emotionally excluded and, in these politically sensitive poems, writes without sentimentality of a cityscape of tenements and immigrants, offering her poetry as a testament to the lives of have-nots. In the central poem, Winters witnesses the relationship between two women of disparate social classes whose friendship represents the poet’s political convictions. With poems both powerful and musical, The Displaced of Capital marks Anne Winters’s triumphant return and assures her standing as an essential New York poet.

Book:Don't Let Me Be Lonely

Don't Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric

Claudia Rankine

In this powerful sequence of TV images and essay, Claudia Rankine explores the personal and political unrest of our volatile new century

I forget things too. It makes me sad. Or it makes
me the saddest. The sadness is not really about
George W. or our American optimism; the
sadness lives in the recognition that a life can
not matter.

The award-winning poet Claudia Rankine, well known for her experimental multigenre writing, fuses the lyric, the essay,…[more]

Book:Door in the Mountain

Door in the Mountain: New And Collected Poems, 1965-2003

Jean Valentine

Since the 1965 publication of her first book, Dream Barker, selected for the Yale Younger Poets Award, Jean Valentine has published eight collections of poetry to critical acclaim. Spare and intensely-felt, Valentine’s poems present experience as only imperfectly graspable. This volume gathers together all of Valentine’s published poems and includes a new collection, Door in the Mountain.

Valentine’s poetry is as recognizable as the slant truth of a dream. She is a brave, unshirking poet who speaks with fire on the great subjects—love, death, and the soul. Her images—strange, canny visions of the unknown self—clang with the authenticity of real experience. This is an urgent art that wants to heal what it touches, a poetry that wants to tell, intimately, the whole life.

Book:New and Selected Poems (Michael Ryan)

New and Selected Poems

Michael Ryan

Michael Ryan's New and Selected Poems is the first collection to appear in fifteen years from this acclaimed and masterly poet. Comprising fifty-seven poems from three award-winning volumes and thirty-one brilliant new poems, it displays the wit and passion he has brought to universal themes throughout his career. In both dramatic lyrics and complex narratives, Ryan renders the world with startling clarity, freshness, and intimacy.

Ryan”s poems are filled with the stuff of everyday life: What-a-Burger, Space Invaders, “the hood ornament / on some chopped down hot rod of the apocalypse.” He observes his subjects in carefully wrought detail and with a fierce compassion, describing “stupid posters of rock stars” in the bedroom of a murdered teenager, or a homeless boy “straggle-haired, bloated, / eyes shining like ice.” As Ryan writes of others, in a final “Reminder” to himself: “their light—their light—/ pulls…[more]

Book:Poems

Poems: New and Selected

Marianne Boruch

Marianne Boruch, one of the most thoughtful and searching of contemporary poets, here draws from her four previous collections, and adds a group of twenty-five new poems to make a volume that is truly impressive in its range and authority.

Boruch is not flamboyant or flashy, armored in theory or swimming with a school. Her poems build toward blazing insights with the utmost honesty and care. And their quiet authority brings readers back, sometimes breathlessly, to examine their reverberating centers and luminous recognitions.

As Stephen Behrendt has put it: “Boruch’s is a poetry about making visible what would else be invisible. It is about the risks—and the satisfactions—of confronting the many layers of anxiety and intensity that define modern existence.”

Book:Strike Sparks

Strike Sparks: Selected Poems, 1980-2002

Sharon Olds

A powerful collection from one of our most gifted and widely read poets—117 of her finest poems drawn from her seven published volumes.

Michael Ondaatje has called Sharon Olds’s poetry “pure fire in the hands” and cheered the “roughness and humor and brag and tenderness and completion in her work as she carries the reader through rooms of passion and loss.” This rich selection exhibits those qualities in poem after poem, reflecting, moreover, an exciting experimentation with rhythm and language and a movement toward an embrace beyond the personal. Subjects are revisited—the pain of childhood, adolescent sexual stirrings, the fulfillment of marriage, the wonder of children—but each recasting penetrates ever more deeply, enriched by new perceptions and conceits.

Strike Sparks is a testament to this remarkable poet’s continuing and amazing growth.

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