Year in Review 2006

Best Book of New Poetry Published in 2006

Angle of Yaw, Ben Lerner

Other Nominees:
, Joshua Beckman
[one love affair]*, Jenny Boully
The Stupefying Flashbulbs, Daniel Brenner
Yes, Master, Michael Earl Craig
Averno, Louise Gluck
Splay Anthem, Nathaniel Mackey
Isa the Truck Named Isadore, Amanda Nadelberg
Lug Your Careless Body Out of the Careful Dusk: A Poem in Fragments, Joshua Marie Wilkinson
God’s Silence, Franz Wright

Best First Book
(So many first book prizes. And more. Award for greatness in a poet’s first full-length)

Isa the Truck Named Isadore, Amanda Nadelberg

Other Nominees:
The Stupefying Flashbulbs, Daniel Brenner
On the Side of the Crow, Christien Gholson
case sensitive, Kate Greenstreet
Who’s Who Vivid, Matt Hart 

Best Second Book
(Award for greatness in a second book; lots of good stuff this year)

Angle of Yaw, Ben Lerner

Other Nominees:
[one love affair]*
, Jenny Boully
Yes, Master, Michael Earl Craig
My Psychic, James Kimbrell

Best New Collection by a Canonical Figure
(Award for the best book of all new poems by a poet whose place in the canon seems secure, for the time being)

Averno, Louise Gluck

Other Nominees:
District and Circle, Seamus Heaney
Man and Camel, Mark Strand
Scar Tissue, Charles Wright
God’s Silence, Franz Wright

Best Selected/Collected
(More than run-of-the-mill Greatest Hits packages. Here are this year’s five most successful)

I Love Artists: New and Selected Poems, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge

Other Nominees:
Collected Poems, Robert Creeley
White Apples and the Taste of Stone, Donald Hall
The Sights Along the Harbor, Harvey Shapiro
Collected Poems, C.K. Williams

Best Poem in a New Collection
(Award for best individual poem in an all new collection.)

“Didactic Elegy”, Ben Lerner (from Angle of Yaw)

Other Nominees:
“This is what’s been done to flesh…”, Joshua Beckman (from Shake)
“Prayer”, Michael Earl Craig (from Yes, Master)
“Landscape”, Louise Gluck (from Averno)
“Four Darks in Red”, Aleda Shirley (from Dark Familiar)

Best Author Photo
(Award for greatness in the field of Lookism. Images forthcoming– um, that’s “Fair Use” right?)

Bill Zavatsky, Where X Marks the Spot

Other Nominees:
Joshua Clover, The Totality for Kids
Mark Strand, Man and Camel
Henry Taylor, Crooked Run 
C.K. Williams, Collected Poems

Best Response to Coldfront
(Award for greatness in reacting to America’s favorite poetry review journal.  Nota: titles our own.)

“You Must Not Know About my Masters Degree: A Letter to the Editors”, Matt Mason

“[T]he review seems to go out of its way to point out lines which remind the reviewer of bad emo lyrics… when those lines are obviously TRYING to sound like bad emo lyrics to make the point the poems go for (something caught, certainly, by Literal Latte magazine who awarded “I May Not Know…” a nice check and first place in a contest as well as the readers and teachers in my masters program (UC Davis)).”

Other Nominees:
“I Promised Myself I Wasn’t Going to Blog About This”, Steve Mueske

“Deferring to Deming”, Kate Seferian, Verse Magazine Online

“In his review of Upon Arrival, John Deming notes that ‘the mania [Cisewski] is really indulging in . . . is an obsession with the notion of multifarious selves. Every person is burdened with an infinite number of conflicting impulses and emotions–indeed, of ways to finally envision oneself’.”

“Letter to the Editors Part 1: Reopening Old Wounds”, Franz Wright

“I’d like to straighten you out on those Poetry emails/letter–they were sent privately to the editor of the magazine in response to a private falling out we’d had. It was his decision to publish them, out of context, with the obvious intention of causing me to look like a lunatic and causing me to be ridiculed for about a year, and clearly he was quite successful.  The fact that you find those letters “hilarious” (and you are certainly not alone) is disturbing to me…  I’ve never, in public or private, attempted to defend myself or explain with regard to the Poetry humiliation–so this is my chance to get it out of my

“Letter to the Editors Part 2: Reconciliation”, Franz Wright

“[N]o one, absolutely no one–neither the sincere reviewers nor the witty and malicious assholes–has displayed anything remotely approaching your grasp of my intent in God’s Silence. It is no exaggeration to say that reading your review restored, for a moment, my faith that there has to be SOMEONE out there who notices what I was trying to do.  Rereading your review this morning nearly brought tears to my eyes.”

Best Overall 2006 Poetry Catalogue

Copper Canyon

Other Nominees:
Farrar Strauss & Giroux
Fence Books
Wave Books

Best Book Title

The Stupefying Flashbulbs, Daniel Brenner

Other Nominees:
A Useless Window, Carrie Olivia Adams
Splay Anthem, Nathaniel Mackey
Dog Star Delicatessen, Mekeel McBride
Ooga-Booga, Frederick Seidel
Best-Selling Jewish Porn Films, Wayne Koestenbaum

Best Book Cover

Yes, Master, Michael Earl Craig
A Jacques Tati photo? Good enough for me.
Other Nominees:
My Brother is Getting Arrested Again, Daisy Fried
Green Squall, Jay Hopler (by Nancy Ovedovich)
Is it green, is it gray, who can tell. Understated and very cool.
The Pitch, Tom Thompson (by Emilie Clark, from the collection of the author)
Clap your hands! (But I feel so lonely)
Meteoric Flowers, Elizabeth Willis
Designed by Jeff Clark, who gets around—also designing covers this year for Brian Henry, Noelle Kocot, S.A. Stepanek, among others.

Best Long Poem
(Award for a new poem at least 5 pages in length)

“Song of the Andoumboulou: 60”, Nathaniel Mackey, from Splay Anthem

Other Nominees:
“Landscape”, Louise Gluck, from Averno
“Love Had a Thousand Shapes”, James Kimbrell, from My Psychic
“Poem for the End of Time”, Noelle Kocot, from Poem for the End of Time and Other Poems
“Didactic Elegy”, by Ben Lerner, from Angle of Yaw


Best Book-Length Poem

[one love affair]*, Jenny Boully

Other Nominees:
inbox, Noah Eli Gordon
Three, Breathing, S.A. Stepanek
Lug Your Careless Body Out of the Careful Dusk: A Poem in Fragments, Joshua Marie Wilkinson
Rain, JonWoodward

Best Opener
(Award for the best opening poem in a book)

“Unslide the door,…” Joshua Beckman, from Shake

Other Nominees:
“This is How an Anvil Comes to You,” Michael Earl Craig, from Yes, Master
“In the Garden”, Jay Hopler, from Green Squall
“The Star’s Etruscan Argument”, Aleda Shirley, from Dark Familiar
“The Similitude of this Great Flower”, Elizabeth Willis, from Meteoric Flowers

Best Closer
(Award for the best closing poem in a book)

“Song of the Andoumboulou: 60”, Nathaniel Mackey, from Splay Anthem

Other Nominees:
“Prayer”, Michael Earl Craig, from Yes, Master
“Persephone the Wanderer”, Louise Gluck, from Averno
“The Blackbird of Glanmore”, Seamus Heaney, from District & Circle
“Feast of the Ascension, 2004. Planting Hibiscus”, Jay Hopler, from Green Squall

Best First Lines
(Award for greatness in apt, absorbing opening lines that have a way of informing the book’s greater good)

from “Mimosa,” opening section of Jenny Boully’s [one love affair]*: 

She remembers the story he told her, about taking a walk with his former lover during one of the very first days of spring, a spring which soured then ripened then soured then ripened before beginning again, a spring which kept swelling out of winter in a way the Chaucer’s spring would never do.

Other Nominees:
from the untitled poem opening Joshua Beckman’s Shake:

Unslide the door,
uncap the lazy little coffee cup.
The pasty people must be part of the dinner.
And a city turns its incapacity in,
foolish city…

from “The Lightning”, opener for Linda Gregg’s In the Middle Distance: 


The bell ringing has been a great pleasure
for her during these months. But she
has been confused by the many secrets.
The fragments of stories between
upstairs and down. Like when the woman
dressed in such a beautiful white gown
with only one shoe. And that one with
no heel. And the other woman upstairs
and down. Fragments of stories.

from “Begetting Stadia, opener for Ben Lerner’s Angle of Yaw: 

Demands indefinitely specified,
demands incompatible with collective living

beget stadia
with indefinite seating
delicately tiered.

from “Appalachian Farewell”, opener for Charles Wright’s Scar Tissue: 


Sunset in Appalachia, bituminous bulwark
Against the western skydrop.
An Advent of gold and green, an Easter of Ashes.

Best Closing Lines
(Award for greatness in apt, absorbing closing lines that have a way of informing the book’s greater good)

from “Prayer,” closer for Michael Earl Craig’s Yes, Master:

As I hold my head low
I see the many flecks of black pepper
on my placemat.
They look like horses
running away from me at a great distance.

Other Nominees:
from Daniel Brenner’s The Stupefying Flashbulbs: 

I’m afraid of looking around from the perspective of being chased
& doing whatever it is the perspective of being chased urges.

from “Persephone the Wanderer”, closer for Louise Gluck’s Averno:

And in the time between

you will forget everything:
those fields of ice will be
the meadows of Elysium.

from “Song of the Andoumboulou: 60”, closer for Nathaniel Mackey’s Splay Anthem:

   we ran thru it, earth-sway swaddling

from “The Hour of Blue Snow”, closer for David Young’s Black Lab:

Then I remember to breathe again,
and the blue snow shines inside me.

Technical Awards
(for innovation in the fields of):

the self-writing book: inbox, Noah Eli Gordon

Other Nominees:
the footnote: [one love affair]*, Jenny Boully 

the subject index: The Totality for Kids, Joshua Clover   

the epigraph: Swallows, Martin Corless-Smith

liquid paper: A Little White Shadow,  Mary Ruefle

Best Thirteenth Poem

Frost said if he wrote a book of 12 poems then the 13th poem should be the book itself (or something like that). Here are some books whose small parts made a hell of a whole.

The Totality for Kids, Joshua Clover

Other Nominees:
The Stupefying Flashbulbs, Daniel Brenner
Swallows, Martin Corless-Smith
Whole Milk, Jim Goar
In the Middle Distance, Linda Gregg