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And the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry This Year Goes To…

The 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry has been awarded to Frank Bidart for Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016.

Frank Bidart is the author of “Metaphysical Dog” (FSG, 2013), “Watching the Spring Festival” (FSG, 2008), “Star Dust” (FSG, 2005), Desire (FSG, 1997), and “In the Western Night: Collected Poems 1965-90” (FSG, 1990).

He has won many prizes, including the Wallace Stevens Award, the 2007 Bollingen Prize in American Poetry, and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

He teaches at Wellesley College and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

From the publisher:

Gathered together, the poems of Frank Bidart perform one of the most remarkable transmutations of the body into language in contemporary literature. His pages represent the human voice in all its extreme registers, whether it’s that of the child-murderer Herbert White, the obsessive anorexic Ellen West, the tormented genius Vaslav Nijinsky, or the poet’s own. And in that embodiment is a transgressive empathy, one that recognizes our wild appetites, the monsters, the misfits, the misunderstood among us and inside us. Few writers have so willingly ventured to the dark places of the human psyche and allowed themselves to be stripped bare on the page with such candor and vulnerability. Over the past half century, Bidart has done nothing less than invent a poetics commensurate with the chaos and appetites of our experience.

“Half-light” encompasses all of Bidart’s previous books, and also includes a new collection, “Thirst,” in which the poet austerely surveys his life, laying it plain for us before venturing into something new and unknown. Here Bidart finds himself a “Creature coterminous with thirst,” still longing, still searching in himself, one of the “queers of the universe.” 

Visionary and revelatory, intimate and unguarded, Bidart’s “Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2017” are a radical confrontation with human nature, a conflict eternally renewed and reframed, restless line by restless line.

Nominated as finalists in Poetry in 2018:

semiautomatic, by Evie Shockley (Wesleyan University Press)
A brilliant leap of faith into the echoing abyss of language, part rap, part rant, part slam, part performance art, that leaves the reader unsettled, challenged—and bettered—by the poet’s words.

Incendiary Art, by Patricia Smith (TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press)
A searing portrait of the violence exacted against the bodies of African-American men in America and the grief of the women who mourn them, infused with a formal virtuosity emblematic of the poet’s aesthetic sophistication and savvy linguistic play.