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Explore great poetry, including winners of the National Book Awards and other prizes.

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  Cover Art: Versed Armantrout, Rae
Versed
Awarded the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. The Pulitzer judges described it as a collection "striking for its wit and linguistic inventiveness, offering poems that are often little thought-bombs detonating in the mind long after the first reading."
2009
Adult Nonfiction Book
  Cover Art: Talking into the Ear of a Donkey Bly, Robert
Talking into the Ear of a Donkey
With poems ranging from the ghazal form to free verse, Talking into the Ear of a Donkey is Robert Bly's richest and most varied collection. In the title poem, Bly addresses the "donkey"-possibly poetry itself-that has carried him through a writing life of more than six decades.
2011
Adult Nonfiction Book
  Cover Art: Poems and Songs Cohen, Leonard
Poems and Songs
A magnificent selection of song lyrics and poems from across the storied career of one of the most daring and affecting poet-songwriters in the world. In the more than half century since his first book of poems was published, Leonard Cohen has evolved into an international cult figure who transcends genres and generations.
2011
Adult Nonfiction Book
  Cover Art: Aimless Love Collins, Billy
Aimless Love
Presents a volume of more than fifty new poems accompanied by a generous gathering from the author's collections of the past decade, lending insight into his overall poetic achievements and his use of playful, ironic, and melodic language.
2013
Adult Nonfiction Book
  Cover Art: Find the Girl Darst, Lightsey
Find the Girl
"Find the Girl is a book of poems as urgent as its title. . . . Here we have an important new poetic voice, one that fully earns Louis Zukofsky's observation that, in poetry, 'The story must exist in each word or it cannot go on.' - Laura Kasischke." This collection won the 2011 Minnesota Book Award for poetry.
2010
Adult Nonfiction Book
  Cover Art: Fire to Fire Doty, Mark
Fire to Fire
Mark Doty's Fire to Fire collects the best of his seven books of poetry, along with a generous selection of new work. Doty's subjects-our mortal situation, the evanescent beauty of the world, desire's transformative power, and art's ability to give shape to human lives-echo and develop across twenty years of poems. This collection won the National Book Award for poetry in 2008
2008
Adult Nonfiction Book
  Cover Art: Sonata Mulattica Dove, Rita
Sonata Mulattica
This lyric narrative by Pulitzer Prize-winning former United States poet laureate, Rita Dove, was inspired by the life of a nineteenth-century virtuoso violinist. These poems trace the early years of George Polgreen Bridgetower who was the son of a white woman and an "African prince," his acclaimed performances in Vienna, and his break with Beethoven after a dispute over a woman.
2009
Adult Nonfiction Book
  Cover Art: Late Wife Emerson, Claudia
Late Wife
Winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for poetry, this collection explores a woman's disappearance from one life and reappearance in another as she addresses her former husband, herself, and her new husband in a series of epistolary poems. This is the most personal of Claudia Emerson's poetry collections. It is both an elegy and a celebration of a rich present informed by a complex past.
2005
Adult Nonfiction Book
  Cover Art: National Monuments Erdrich, Heid E.
National Monuments
Many of the poems in National Monuments explore bodies, particularly the bodies of indigenous women worldwide, as monuments -- in life, in photos, in graves, in traveling exhibitions, and in plastic representations at the airport. Erdrich sometimes imagines what ancient bones would say if they could speak. Her poems remind us that we make monuments out of what remains -- monuments are actually our own imaginings of the meaning or significance of things that are, in themselves, silent. Winner of the 2009 Minnesota Book Award for poetry.
2008
Adult Nonfiction Book
  Cover Art: Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations Ferry, David
Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations
To read David Ferry's Bewilderment is to be reminded that poetry of the highest order can be made by the subtlest of means. In poem after poem, his diction modulates beautifully between plainspoken high eloquence and colloquial vigor, making his distinctive speech one of the most interesting and ravishing achievements of the past half century. Winner of the 2012 National Book Award for poetry.
2012
Adult Nonfiction Book
  Cover Art: Head Off & Split Finney, Nikky
Head Off & Split
The poems in Nikky Finney's breathtaking new collection Head Off & Split sustain a sensitive and intense dialogue with emblematic figures and events in African American life. Finney's poetic voice is defined by an intimacy that holds a soft yet exacting eye on the erotic, on uncanny political and family events, like her mother's wedding waltz with South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond, and on the heartbreaking hilarity of an American president's final State of the Union address. Winner of the 2011 National Book Award for poetry.
2011
Adult Nonfiction Book
  Cover Art: It Becomes You Gibson, Dobby
It Becomes You
The poems in Dobby Gibson's It Becomes You explore the divergent conditions by which we're perpetually defined - the daily weather, the fluctuations of the Dow, the growth of a cancer cell, the politics of the day. What surrounds us becomes us, Gibson suggests, in a book that will ultimately become you.
2013
Adult Nonfiction Book
  Cover Art: Collected Poems Gilbert, Jack
Collected Poems
Gathered in this volume readers will find more than fifty years of poems by the incomparable Jack Gilbert, from his Yale Younger Poets prize-winning volume to glorious late poems, including a section of previously uncollected work. There is no one quite like Jack Gilbert in postwar American poetry.
2012
Adult Nonfiction Book
  Cover Art: Poems: 1962-2012 Gluck, Louise
Poems: 1962-2012
The collected works of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award-winning writer explores her transfigured landscapes and offers insight into her unique form created to reflect the human drive to release the past in order to realize the yet-unimagined.
2012
Adult Nonfiction Book
  Cover Art: Time and Materials: Poems 1997-2005 Hass, Robert
Time and Materials: Poems 1997-2005
Robert Hass has, for a long time, held a prominent position among the most revered of all living poets. Unlike the more difficult, cerebral poetry of writers like John Ashbery, Hass's work is grounded in the beauty of the physical world, in the smaller details of natural, human life. His poetry is graceful, humble, curious, and wise. For this collection he won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for poetry and the 2007 National Book Award for poetry.
2007
Adult Nonfiction Book
  Cover Art: Lighthead Hayes, Terrance
Lighthead
The deservedly acclaimed Hayes returns in his fourth book with the kinds of sly, twisting, hip, jazzy poems his fans have come to expect, but also with a new somberness of tone and mature caution. Hayes invites readers to share his experience and especially his sense of the African American experience through the eyes of such alter egos as Lighthead, Bullethead, Tankhead, and Orpheus. Winner of the 2010 National Book Award for poetry.
2010
Adult Nonfiction Book
  Cover Art: The Chain Letter of the Soul Holm, Bill
The Chain Letter of the Soul
Throughout his life and in his writing, Bill Holm was a humanist whose obsessions included mortality and eternity. He paid special attention to the notion of cycles, patterns, movements, and processes, and many of his most moving poems are dedicated to the friends and family he helped through the last stages of their lives. Collecting the best and most recent poems from Holm's oeuvre, The Chain Letter of the Soul paints a portrait of a man of great heart, broad vision, and startling prescience.
2009
Adult Nonfiction Book
  Cover Art: Willow Room, Green Door Keenan, Deborah
Willow Room, Green Door
In this 2008 Minnesota Book Award winning collection, Deborah Keenan sifts through inanimate objects and forgotten memories in search of personal validation. Her journal-like confessions create an instant bond with the reader, yet these seemingly simple poems daringly redefine common language. Keenan skillfully twists words to suit her ends, creating a colorful, dream-like world filled with lions, paintings, wars, and mummies.
2007
Adult Nonfiction Book
  Cover Art: Odessa Kirkpatrick, Patricia
Odessa
A grim prognosis, brain cancer, leaves the speaker in Kirkpatrick's 'Odessa' fighting for her life. The tumor presses against her amygdalae, the "emotional core of the self," and central to the process of memory. In poems endowed with this emotional charge but void of sentimentality, Kirkpatrick sets out to recreate what was lost by fashioning a dreamlike reality. Winner of the 2013 Minnesota Book Award for poetry.
2012
Adult Nonfiction Book
  Cover Art: Delights & Shadows Kooser, Ted
Delights & Shadows
Ted Kooser is a poet who works toward clarity and accessibility, so that each distinctive poem appears to be as fresh and bright and spontaneous as a good watercolor painting. He is a haiku-like imagist who imbues his poems with "tender wisdom," and draws inspiration from the overlooked details of daily life. This collection won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Kooser served as United States Poet Laureate from 2004 through 2006.
2004
Adult Nonfiction Book
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