After announcing the 2015 National Book Awards long list for Young People’s Literature yesterday, the National Book Foundation did the same for the Poetry category this morning. Two previous winners of the Awards made this year’s list: Marilyn Hacker and Terrance Hayes from 1975 and 2010 respectively.

Looking at the list each year reaffirms for me what excellent poetry looks like: imagery, as opposed to literal  descriptors; unforced language or rhythm; displaying a concept’s evolution with each written line.

Hayes, who won with the collection Lighthead and has been nominated for  How to be Drawn, demonstrates poetic excellence in the way he can unpack and integrate two  images in a single piece. Check out his reading of “How To Be Drawn To Trouble” at Cave Canem, where his chosen two images are his mother and James Brown:

You’ll love this YouTube treat I found about Hacker—who won with Presentation Piece, and made this year’s long list with A Stranger’s Mirror: New and Selected Poems, 1994-2014. There was a vinyl album release of her work during the 70s and this clip features Hacker reading the poem “Presentation Piece.”

The short list will be released on Thursday, October 15, and the winners will be announced at the National Book Awards dinner in New York on Wednesday, Nov. 18.

The entire poetry long list is below.

Ross Gay, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude

Pitt Poetry Series/University of Pittsburgh Press

Amy Gerstler, Scattered at Sea

Penguin Books/Penguin Random House

Marilyn Hacker, A Stranger’s Mirror: New and Selected Poems, 1994-2014

W. W. Norton & Company

Terrance Hayes, How to Be Drawn

Penguin Books/Penguin Random House

Jane Hirshfield, The Beauty

Alfred A. Knopf

Robin Coste Lewis, Voyage of the Sable Venus

Alfred A. Knopf

Ada Limón, Bright Dead Things

Milkweed Editions

Patrick Phillips, Elegy for a Broken Machine

Alfred A. Knopf

Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Heaven

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Lawrence Raab, Mistaking Each Other for Ghosts

Tupelo Press

h/t – The New Yorker.

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