Thursday, October 12, 2006

Go, Ben!

The National Book Award Finalists for 2006 have been announced. In poetry:

Angle of Yaw by Ben Lerner
Averno by Louise Gluck
Capacity by James McMichael
Chromatic by H.L. Hix
Splay Anthem by Nathaniel Mackey

I have only read one of these, Averno, and thought it was one of Gluck's better books of late. I heard Ben Lerner read from Angle of Yaw before it was published and thought the poems were terrific. Here's a sample:

"If it hangs from the wall"

If it hangs from the wall, it's a painting.
If it rests on the floor, it's a sculpture.
If it's very big or very small, it's
conceptual. If it forms part of the wall,
if it forms part of the floor, it's
architecture. If you have to buy a
ticket, it's modern. If you are already
inside it and you have to pay to get out
of it, it's more modern. If you can be
inside it without paying, it's a trap. If it
moves, it's outmoded. If you have to
look up, it's religious. If you have to
look down, it's realistic. If it's been
sold, it's site-specific. If, in order to see
it, you have to pass through a metal
detector, it's public.

It'd be fantastic if he won.

Re: McMichael, Hix, and Mackey; it looks like I have some reading to do.


In other news: I know the Yankees did poorly in the playoffs this year, despite all the multi-billion dollar stars on their roster. But did one of their players have to vent by flying into a building? I'm just saying . . .



Unknown said...

I like that poem. I'll have to check out his book.

Peter said...

The Poetry Panelists were: James Longenbach (chair), Jimmy Santiago Baca, Li-Young Lee, Claudia Rankine, and C.D. Wright.

sam of the ten thousand things said...

Thanks for the post and the tip for reading.