Music Like Dirt
In 2001, Bidart received the Wallace Stevens Award, given by the Academy of American Poets. The judges were Eavan Boland, Louise Glück, Wendy Lesser, James Longenbach, and Carl Phillips. Jury chair Louise Glück writes: “Since the publication, in 1973, of Golden State, Frank Bidart has patiently amassed as profound and original a body of work as any now being written in this country. He has given form for our age to what is most urgent and most private in the human soul: the ordeals of solitude and mortality and hunger and, recently, that action through which being speaks: the drive to make or create. Bidart’s poems sound like no one else’s; they look like no one else’s: to accommodate the requirement of his art, that the voice be precisely enacted in its every variation and hesitation, Bidart has made of his form a theatre: if the voice must be confined to the page, it will exploit that page, extend its possibilities.
His work has been, from the start, remarkable in its disdain for the soothing, the sentimental, the facile, the partial. He is, in the feeling of our jury, one of the great poets of our time.”