The selections for the 2016 Paterson Poetry Prize (announced here by Maria Gillan) are as good a line-up as I’ve seen from any poetry prize in recent memory. Each book is one I want to have, starting with the winner, Mark Doty’s Deep Lane, of which the announcement says:
“In Deep Lane, Mark Doty writes of “the wild unsayable,” yet manages in this brilliant book to find the precise words to describe what it means to be alive and human with all our flaws. He leads us on a brave journey through grief and loss and joy, to all that lies below the surface of our lives, all the hard-earned moments that redeem us.”
Any new book from Mark Doty is a cause for celebration, as are the others on this wonderful list. The announcement page has links so you can go right ahead and get the books – from Amazon. If you remember Ursula Le Guin’s bracing acceptance speech when she received the 2014 National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, you may want to think twice about succumbing to Amazon as the default target of every Internet book link.
I am too lazy not to succumb sometimes – as my Kindle list and Amazon Prime-ordered gadgets will show – but today, buoyed by the energy of writing one good new poem (or believing I have), my will to not feed the Amazon beast is strong, enough so that I spent 20 minutes replacing the original links with links to IndieBound (or, in one case, Powell’s) in the list below, in the hopes that, one click at a time, we may support our independent poets while at the same time supporting our independent bookstores. On IndieBound, you can order from them or put in your zip code to get the name(s) of local stores near you. Where a human being will greet you and you’ll walk out with three or four more books you would not otherwise have discovered – a treat Alan Gurganus describes so beautifully in his tribute to Nancy Olson and her Quail Ridge Bookstore (“My North Carolina State of Mind”).
Of course, if you’re already a committed indie brick-and-mortar bookstore-goer, you don’t need these links at all. But if you like to order from the comfort of your chaise longue, here are the guilt-free links:
WINNER: Mark Doty, Deep Lane, W. W. Norton & Company, New York, NY
FINALISTS for 2016:
- Reginald Dwayne Betts, Bastards of the Reagan Era (Four Way Books, New York, NY)
- Tony Hoagland, Application for Release from the Dream (Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, MN)
- Patricia Spears Jones, A Lucent Fire: New & Selected Poems (White Pine Press, Buffalo, NY)
- Adele Kenny, A Lightness, A Thirst, or Nothing at All (Welcome Rain Publishers, New York, NY) – Link is to Powell’s since IndieBound lists it but says not available for direct order
- Richard Michelson, More Money Than God (University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA)
- Vivian Shipley, Perennial (Negative Capability Press, Mobile, AL)
As a well-known writer once said, what a wealth!