While all over the interwebs the NBA wins are discussed, most of the discussions I saw strongly focused on Colum McCann, who won the award for best novel. Here is a sensible take on that book of his on the FFC2:
McCann présente à travers les portraits croisés d’une série de personnes culturellement diversifiées un tableau de New York de 1974 à presque nos jours, où les traces d’un discours sur le New York d’aujourd’hui abondent. C’est le proverbial roman choral qui pue l’artifice à vingt mètres malgré la volonté de vraisemblance, qui s’avère une pure mascarade. Tout est forcé, jusque dans la recherche du petit détail poétique ou psychologique soi-disant bien vu, tout simplement pathétique. McCann étale sa recherche documentaire, et il a bien raison : c’est la seule façon de faire croire qu’il y a quelque chose d’authentique là-dedans.
But, in other but closely related news, there is also a poetry prize being handed out and it went to Keith Waldrop this year. Yeah, poetry. The NYT piece I linked to above gave him 19 words, ten of which were his name, book, and publisher. Oh, the spotlight! Anyway. As with the novels, the field overall was surprisingly weak and Waldrop was, I thought, the clear forerunner for the prize (although Armantrout is probably better known). I’m currently reading and thinking about some books of his and of his wife, Rosemary Waldrop. I’m a bit stunned by The Locality Principle. After first reading it I tossed it away in scorn but currently it’s growing on me. These days I think I’m lucky there’s so much of his work out. He’s certainly interesting. So he won, congratulations. This here is a poem from his winning book Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy:
Keith Waldrop: Below the Earth
My ﬁrst glance takes in
an army, tens of thousands ready
armed. As a mirror reﬂects
indistinctly and with a feeble
light, so it cracks and
soon fades. From its surface a clear
image of the beholder.
In these paintings: harbors, promontories,
shores, rivers, fountains,
fanes, groves, mountains, ﬂocks, and of
course shepherds. Sometimes mythological
episodes, ﬁgures of the gods, the
battles at Troy, wanderings of Ulysses.
Scorned in these days of bad taste.
Now we have frescos of mon-
strosities, candelabra supporting
shrines, stalks with human heads.
Malachite green, Armenian
blue, red earths in
abundance, vermilion like a drug.
Make of that what you will. Do give his book a look. He’s worth looking into. I promise.