National Book Critics Circle Honors Poets In January, the National Book Critics Circle announced the nominees for this year's awards — among them, five poets. J.D. McClatchy, a professor of English at Yale University, talks through some of the nominated verse.
NPR logo

National Book Critics Circle Honors Poets

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/4532055/4533090" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
National Book Critics Circle Honors Poets

National Book Critics Circle Honors Poets

National Book Critics Circle Honors Poets

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/4532055/4533090" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
'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

'Black Swan' by Brigit Pegeen Kelly

Only Available in Archive Formats.

'The heavenly noise of domesticity murmurs in the kitchen: clink' by D.A. Powell

Only Available in Archive Formats.

'A Dent in a Bucket' by Gary Snyder

Only Available in Archive Formats.

'Baby Jackrabbit' by Gary Snyder

Only Available in Archive Formats.

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

Only Available in Archive Formats.

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