National Book Critics Circle Honors Poets

'The School Among the Ruins'
'The Orchard'

As the first MTV decade came to a close and the fine arts struggled for survival, screenwriter Paul Rudnick hammered his own nail into the high-art coffin with the Spy Magazine article "It's Okay to Hate High Culture." Since then, the arts that Rudnick targeted — opera, poetry and ballet — have persevered, netting small numbers of passionate fans.

Hear Poems from the Nominees

*Audio produced by Elaine Heinzman

Listen: 'Black Swan' by Brigit Pegeen Kelly

Listen: 'The heavenly noise of domesticity murmurs in the kitchen: <i>clink</i>' by D.A. Powell

Listen: 'Death' by James Richardson

Listen: 'A Dent in a Bucket' by Gary Snyder

Listen: 'Baby Jackrabbit' by Gary Snyder

Listen: 'Five O'Clock, January 2003,' by Adrienne Rich

One such niche is the National Book Critics Circle, a group of critics that awards writers working in genres as varied as biography and young-adult fiction. In January, they announced the nominees for the 2004 awards — among them, five poets. The winners will be announced on March 18.

The finalists in the poetry category are: Brigit Pegeen Kelly, The Orchard; D.A. Powell, Cocktails; Adrienne Rich, The School Among the Ruins; James Richardson, Interglacial; and Gary Snyder, Danger on Peaks.

J.D. McClatchy teaches English at Yale University, and edits The Yale Review, a literary quarterly. He joins NPR's Sheilah Kast to talk through some of the nominated verse.

Books Featured In This Story

Danger On Peaks

Poems

by Gary Snyder

Hardcover, 112 pages | purchase

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Title
Danger On Peaks
Subtitle
Poems
Author
Gary Snyder

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The Orchard

by Brigit Pegeen Kelly and Brigit Kelly Pegen

Paperback, 79 pages | purchase

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Title
The Orchard
Author
Brigit Pegeen Kelly and Brigit Kelly Pegen

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Cocktails

by D. A. Powell

Paperback, 66 pages | purchase

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Title
Cocktails
Author
D. A. Powell

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The School Among The Ruins

Poems 2000 2004

by Adrienne Cecile Rich

Hardcover, 113 pages | purchase

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Title
The School Among The Ruins
Subtitle
Poems 2000 2004
Author
Adrienne Cecile Rich

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