Unlike Hollywood, the literary world doesn’t broadcast its awards season far and wide. This sometimes leads to delightful surprises — like all of March, so far.

First, as the month began, came the list of poetry nominees for the National Book Critics Circle Award, which read in part like a WVFC honor roll: except for the perhaps-lonely Terence Hayes, all the nominees  were women whose careers we’ve cheered for a long time. That includes the winner announced last week, the peerless C.D. Wright. A few days later we learned that Anne Carson, another one of the nominees, had also been named to the American Academy of Arts  and Letters, along with former Poet Laureate Rita Dove.

That’s when we knew that we had our own mini-Women’s History Month on our hands. The honor roll, please:

Anne Carson, selected for the American Academy, was nominated for a Book Critics Circle Award for Nox (New Directions), described as “a book in a box that blends photographs, ephemera, dictionary definitions, lyric shards, fragments, cutouts, clippings, handwritten jottings, and corrupted incomplete narratives to profile the death of the Canadian poet’s brother.” Rita Dove, another  new member of the American Academy and a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. was U.S. Poet Laureate from 1993-1995. Her recent poetry collections include Sonata Mulattica, American Smooth, On the Bus with Rosa Parks and Mother Love. She won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry in 1987 for Thomas and Beulah.

Photo: Jane Hirshfield

Kay Ryan, Poet Laureate 2008-2010, graced WVFC with an entire spring of poems last year. She was justly a Book Critics Circle Award finalist for The Best of It: New and Selected Poems (Grove Press).

And MacArthur Fellowship winner C. D. Wright’s One with Others: [a little book of her days] (Copper Canyon), winner of the Book Critics Circle Award, was also nominated for the National Book Award. The book blends poetry and journalism to detail a significant moment in the Civil Rights Movement in Arkansas.

We’ve felt honored just being in the presence of such excellent work. WVFC sends congratulations and warm regards to these distinguished writers.

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