Friday, July 8, 2016

National Book Award for Poetry

I'm always on the lookout for new poets, but at the same time I'm always trying to broaden my appreciation and knowledge by reading the "best" of the past. Hence this list.

The National Book Award books are a little too "out there" for me -- they seem to reward the most avant-garde literary works in a given year  -- but I figure a stretch in the poetry department is good for the soul. More about the prize here, if you're interested: National Book Award Winners, by category.

It also gives me something else to run down in bookstores, which is a good thing. Not that I need an excuse to spend more time browsing the shelves!

Green means I'm still seeking it. Blue means it's on the TBR shelf, perhaps even languishing there -- in a good way, of course. Poetry and leisure go together, don't they?

1950: Paterson: Book III and Selected Poems - William Carlos Williams
1951: The Auroras of Autumn - Wallace Stevens
1952: Collected Poems - Marianne Moore
1953: Collected Poems, 1917-1952 - Archibald MacLeish
1954: Collected Poems - Conrad Aiken
1955: The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens - Wallace Stevens
1956: The Shield of Achilles - W.H. Auden
1957: Things of the World - Richard Wilbur
1958: Promises: Poems, 1954-1956 - Robert Penn Warren
1959: Words for the Wind - Theodore Roethke
1960: Life Studies - Robert Lowell
1961: The Woman at the Washington Zoo - Randall Jarrell
1962: Poems - Alan Dugan
1963: Traveling Through the Dark - William Stafford
1964: Selected Poems - John Crowe Ransom
1965: The Far Field - Theodore Roethke
1966: Buckdancer's Choice: Poems - James Dickey
1967: Nights and Days - James Merrill
1968: The Light Around the Body - Robert Bly
1969: His Toy, His Dream, His Rest - John Berryman
1970: The Complete Poems - Elizabeth Bishop
1971: To See, To Take - Mona Van Duyn
1972: Selected Poems - Howard Moss; Frank O'Hara
1973: Collected Poems, 1951-1971 - A. R. Ammons
1974: The Fall of America: Poems of these States, 1965-1971 - Allen Ginsberg and Diving into the Wreck: Poems 1971-1972 - Adrienne Rich
1975: Presentation Piece - Marilyn Hacker
1976: Self-portrait in a Convex Mirror - John Ashbery
1977: Collected Poems, 1930-1976 - Richard Eberhart
1978: The Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov - Howard Nemerov
1979: Mirabell: Books of Number - James Merrill
1980: Ashes - Philip Levine
1981: The Need to Hold Still - Lisel Mueller
1982: Life Supports: New and Collected Poems - William Bronk
1983: Selected Poems - Galway Kinnell and Country Music: Selected Early Poems - Charles Wright
(not awarded 1984-1990)
1991: What Work Is - Philip Levine
1992: New & Selected Poems - Mary Oliver
1993: Garbage - A.R. Ammons
1994: A Worshipful Company of Fletchers - James Tate
1995: Passing Through: The Later Poems - Stanley Kunitz
1996: Scrambled Eggs & Whiskey, Poems 1991-1995 - Hayden Carruth
1997: Effort at Speech: New & Selected Poems - William Meredith
1998: This Time: New and Selected Poems - Gerald Stern
1999: Vice: New & Selected Poems - Ai
2000: Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988-2000 - Lucille Clifton
2001: Poems Seven: New and Complete Poetry - Alan Dugan
2002: In the Next Galaxy - Ruth Stone
2003: The Singing - C.K. Williams
2004: Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems, 1965-2003 - Jean Valentine
2005: Migration: New and Selected Poems - W.S. Merwin
2006: Splay Anthem - Nathaniel Mackey
2007: Time and Materials - Robert Hass
2008: Fire to Fire: New and Collected Poems - Mark Doty
2009: Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy - Keith Waldrop
2010: Lighthead - Terrance Hayes
2011: Head Off & Split - Nikky Finney
2012: Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations - David Ferry
2013: Incarnadine - Mary Szybist
2014: Faithful and Virtuous Night - Louise Gl├╝ck
2015: Voyage of the Sable Venus - Robin Coste Lewis
2016: The Performance of Becoming Human - Daniel Borzutzky
2017: Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016 - Frank Bidart


  1. I lack confidence when reading poetry, so a stretch in that department is not a good thing for me.

    I'm surprised at how many fiction award winners I've read, although not many rated highly with me. ;-( I also have several from the early years of the award on my TBR list.

    1. I don't pretend to understand all the poems - but it's nice to try.

      As for the fiction winners, any list is a mixed bag. I enjoy having somewhere definite to begin, though. Still more reading ahead . . . .


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