Prize Winning Books
CAVE CANEM POETRY PRIZE WINNERS
Nicole Terez Dutton
If One of Us Should Fall
Selected by Patricia Smith
University of Pittsburgh Press, $15.95
“Nicole Terez Dutton's fierce and formidable debut throbs with restless beauty and a lyrical undercurrent that is both empowered and unpredictable. Every poem is unsettling in that delicious way that changes and challenges the reader. There is nothing here that does not hurtle forward.”
Iain Haley Pollock
Spit Back a Boy
Selected by Elizabeth Alexander
The University of Georgia Press, $16.95
“Beyond the bracing intelligence in these poems, beyond the surges of joy and trouble, beyond the poet's awe in this split second, he plunges with imagination into the timeless work of loving witness, resonant with high style and the blues. Wherever Iain Pollock turns, the search is on, in history, art, family, in things on display and hidden in himself.”
Missing You, Metropolis
Selected by Yusef Komunyakaa
Graywolf Press, $15
"Gary Jackson's Missing You, Metropolis embodies and underscores a voice uniquely shaped and tuned for the 21st century. Playful, jaunty and highly serious... the collection is gauged by a sophisticated heart. Pathos breathes within and slightly underneath the visual comedy, and this quality is the true genius of Missing You, Metropolis."
Ronaldo V. Wilson
Narrative of the Life of the Brown Boy and the White Man
Selected by Claudia Rankine
University of Pittsburgh Press, $14
"Narrative of the Life of the Brown Boy and the White Man is a riveting interrogation of two men in a relationship...Identity, Wilson seems to say, is only a collection of storiesthe ones told about us in battle with the ones we tell ourselves. What we have here is palpable consciousness: a stunning achievement."
"A Gathering of Matter / A Matter of Gathering is a long song of bodily bereavementstaccato, bracket studded, gruff, brusque. It maps a stark, disconsolate landscape in which bodied resounds with bloodied, 'a song no longer a song.' Jagged vantage, rhythmic aplomb, and an always agile colloquy of image and assertion make for a most auspicious debut."
"Constance Quarterman Bridges gives readers the gift of the griot's embodied eloquence, memory working to delicately braid the fibers of a family's connected lives. The core of the African-American tradition has been waiting for this book."
"Amber Flora Thomas has written one of her generation's best first books. . .Intensely crafted, Thomas's poems thrive on multiple levels of truths in myriad angles. They are literally dazzling. Thomas makes a breathtaking debut with this collection."
Selected by Quincy Troupe
The University of Georgia Press, $14
"What is this phat new thing in your hands? It's both antithetical and wide, wide open. It's right as mismatched sneakers: one foot stepping backward, the other forward. Kyle Dargan has built a shelter with the bricks of the best worlds. He's made a halfway house you won't be leaving soon. Settle in!"
Tracy K. Smith
The Body's Question
Selected by Kevin Young
Graywolf Press, $14
"Here's a voice that can weave beauty and terror into one breath, and the unguarded revelations are never verbal striptease."
"A series of dramatic portraits: the landscape of a Florida landscape too hot to touch, the mother's Pentecostal Old Testament law of judgment, a father's recklessness in the mindless spreading of seed, male malingering with no meaningful work, and little instruction by example....Ecstatic lyric, ritual grace under extreme pressure, realized."
"Major Jackson makes poems that rumble and rock. These poems find themselves at home in the mind of Sun Ra or on a Cape Cod beach, in a City Center Disco or the projects of North Philadelphia. Read 'Euphoria,' 'How To Listen,' 'Some Kind of Crazy' and get a jolt of this stuff. Become one of the 'community of believers.'"
Selected by Rita Dove
Graywolf Press, $12.95
"From sonnets and traditional ballads to free verses shot through with the syncopated attitude of blues, the poems in Domestic Work sing with a muscular luminosity. Here is a young poet in full possession of her craft, ready to testify. To which I say: Can we get an 'Amen?' And: Let these voices be heard."
CAVE CANEM NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY PRESS POETRY PRIZE WINNERS
Horse in the Dark
Selected by Parneshia Jones and Adrian Matejka
Northwestern University Press, $16.95
"Horse in the Dark is a work of transformation, achieved by looking back and reimagining the past and the present, tied together through a series of poems about horses—the girl-horse of childhood, centaurs, seahorses, and Pegasus—horses that represent personal escape, imaginative possibility, risk-taking, a young girl's coming of age, and how we as humans are more than the boundaries of body or place or time. Vievee Francis transforms memory into a resonant and unflinching poetry."
Through the Stonecutter's Window
Selected by Reginald Gibbons, Parneshia Jones and John Keene
Northwestern University Press, $16.95
"These poems open a sustained and impressive dialogue with the visual arts, history, the natural world, and the poet's dreams and nightmares, while dancing poly-rhythmically across and down each page."
"Always in motion, [Moor’s] lines are choreographed to make sense of all that is most elusive in meaning: music, violence, art, love, history, anger, race, belief, desire."