nbapoets

It’s the third week of #NationalPoetryMonth and the first night of #Passover. To celebrate, we revisit our 1974 #NBAwards #Poetry Winners Adrienne Rich and Allen Ginsberg, two of modern America’s most revered #Jewish poets who coincidentally shared the #NBAward that year. Ginsberg’s acceptance speech was delivered by his partner Peter Orlovsky and its fiery polemics reinforced the political thematics of Ginsberg’s Award-Winning collection The Fall of America: “There is no longer any hope for the Salvation of America proclaimed by Jack Kerouac and others of our Beat Generation, aware and howling, weeping and singing Kaddish for the nation decades ago, ‘rejected yet confessing out the soul.’ All we have to work from now is the vast empty quiet space of our own Consciousness. AH! AH! AH!”

Adrienne Rich delivered her own manifesto to the Ceremony attendees when she took the stage with fellow Finalist Audre Lord and made the pronouncement: “We symbolically join together in refusing the terms of patriarchal competition and declaring that we will share this prize among us, to be used as best we can for women.“ On our blog dedicated to the Winners of the #NBAward for #Poetry, Evie Schockley observes that Rich’s poetry "reminds us that this care-full attention to craft was never in opposition to care-full attention to politics. The poet’s job is to see everything, if possible, and to use every tool at her disposal to record her observations. As she writes in From the Prison House: 'Underneath my lids another eye has opened / … / its intent is clarity / it must forget / nothing.’” #NBAPoets

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In 1999, Ai Ogawa, whose first name means “love” in Japanese, became the first woman of color to win a National Book Award for #Poetry. Vice, Ai’s Award-Winning collection, tackled some of humanity’s most disturbing behaviors– from bigotry and prejudice to rape and murder. On our poetry blog, the poet Dilruba Ahmed writes: “Ai’s poems blur and complicate the boundaries between the culprit and the innocent, the culpable and the blameless.”

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Our youngest Winner of the #NBAward for #Poetry, Marilyn Hacker was only 33 years old when she received the Award in 1975 for her debut collection Presentation Piece. The #NBAwards Judges said Hacker’s craft was “the sharp cutting edge by which [she] transfigures the commonplace.” On our blog dedicated to the Winners of the #NBAward for Poetry, Megan Snyder-Camp writes: “Hacker’s structure and her engagement with the edges of formal limitations is also what her work is about– what drives the work is an urgency as sexual and vital as it is formal and precise.”

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