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Bard College Faculty Member Ann Lauterbach Shortlisted for 2009 National Book Award in Poetry
Jennifer Wai-Lan Huang
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The National Book Foundation recently announced that Bard College faculty member Ann Lauterbach is among the 20 finalists for the 2009 National Book Awards. Her new collection of poems Or to Begin Again (Viking Penguin) is one of five finalists in poetry. The winner in each category—fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people’s literature—will be announced at the 60th National Book Awards Benefit Dinner and Ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City on Wednesday, November 18. Each winner will receive $10,000 and a bronze statue; each finalist will receive a bronze medal and $1,000.
Ann Lauterbach’s ninth book, Or to Begin Again, takes its name from a 16-poem elegy that resists its own end, as it meditates on the nearness of specific attachment and loss against the mute background of historical forces in times of war. In the center of the book is a 12-part narrative, “Alice in the Wasteland,” inspired by Lewis Carroll’s great character and T. S. Eliot’s 1922 modernist poem. In this volume, Lauterbach again shows the range of her formal inventiveness, demonstrating the visual dynamics of the page in tandem with the powerful musical cadences and imagery of a contemporary master. Publisher’s Weekly writes, “Intelligent but no less deeply feeling, this collection confirms Lauterbach’s position as one of the most highly principled and tirelessly innovative poets writing today.”
Ann Lauterbach has been, since 1990, cochair of writing in the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts and, since 1997, Ruth and David Schwab II Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College. Lauterbach has published eight collections of poetry: Many Times, But Then (1979), Before Recollection (1987), Clamor (1991), And for Example (1994), On a Stair (1997), If in Time: Selected Poems 1975–2000 (2001), Hum (2005), and Or to Begin Again (2009). She has also published several chapbooks and collaborations with visual artists, including How Things Bear Their Telling with Lucio Pozzi and A Clown, Some Colors, a Doll, Her Stories, a Song, a Moonlit Cove with Ellen Phelan for the Library Fellows of the Whitney Museum, New York. She has written on art and poetics in relation to cultural value, notably in a book of essays, The Night Sky: Writings on the poetics of experience (Penguin 2005, 2008). She collaborated with artist Ann Hamilton for the “Whitecloth” catalogue at the Aldrich Museum, and wrote the introductory essay to Joe Brainard’s “Nancy” drawings for The Nancy Book, published by Siglio Press (2008). Lauterbach is currently at work on a new collaboration for Ann Hamilton’s Tower at Steve Oliver’s ranch in Geyserville, California. This work-in-progress was the subject of a talk for the Beineke Library’s exhibition and the conference “Metaphor Taking Shape: Poetry, Art, and the Book” at Yale University in March 2008. Lauterbach’s essay “The Thing Seen: Reimagining Arts Education for Now” is included in Art School (Propositions for the 21st Century), edited by Steven Madoff (MIT Press 2009). She is a Visiting Core Critic (Sculpture) at Yale. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, The New York State Foundation for the Arts, Ingram Merrill, and The John D. and Catherine C. MacArthur Foundation.
This event was last updated on 11-16-2009