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The National Book Critics Circle Award March 13, 2009

Posted by hyperboreapoetry in Premios.
Tags: , , , ,


Este año el galardón en el área de poesía ha sido otorgado al México-Americano Juan Felipe Herrera y a August Kleinzahler por sus libros “Half the World in Light” y “Sleeping It Off in Rapid City” respectivamente.

Aquí la nota: New York Times

Algunos Poemas de los premiados:

Juan Felipe Herrera

El ángel de la guarda

I should have visited more often.
I should have taken the sour pudding they offered.
I should have danced that lousy beggar shuffle.
I should have painted their rooms in a brighter color.
I should have put a window in there, for the daughters.
I should have provided a decent mountain for a view.
I should have nudged them a little closer to the sky.
I should have guessed they would never come out to wave.
I should have cleaned up that mole, the abyss, in the back.
I should have touched them, that’s it, it comes to me now.
I should have touched them.

Let Me Tell You What a Poem Brings
for Charles Fishman

Before you go further,
let me tell you what a poem brings,
first, you must know the secret, there is no poem
to speak of, it is a way to attain a life without boundaries,
yes, it is that easy, a poem, imagine me telling you this,
instead of going day by day against the razors, well,
the judgments, all the tick-tock bronze, a leather jacket
sizing you up, the fashion mall, for example, from
the outside you think you are being entertained,
when you enter, things change, you get caught by surprise,
your mouth goes sour, you get thirsty, your legs grow cold
standing still in the middle of a storm, a poem, of course,
is always open for business too, except, as you can see,
it isn’t exactly business that pulls your spirit into
the alarming waters, there you can bathe, you can play,
you can even join in on the gossip—the mist, that is,
the mist becomes central to your existence.

War Voyeurs
for Clara Fraser

I do not understand why men make war.

Is it because artillery is the most stoic example
of what flesh can become?
Is it because the military plan is the final map
drawn by the wisest hunter?
Is it because the neutron ray is the invincible finger
no one will disobey?


Is it because the flood of blood is the proper penance
workers must pay for failing tribute at the prescribed

I do not understand why men make war.

Is it because when death is multiple and expanding, there
among the odd assemblages, arbitrary and unnamed, there
among the shrivelled mountains, distorted and hollow, there
among the liquid farms and cities, cold and sallow, there
among the splintered bones of children, women, men and cattle
there and only there, the eerie head of power is being born?

Is it because submission is the only gesture to be rehearsed,
to be dressed, to be modeled, to be cast, to be chosen
in the one and only one drama to be staged in the theater of
this world, where everyone must act with the backbone humbled
with the mascara of bondage, with the lipstick of slaves under
the light of gentle assassination with applause piercing the ground


Is it because war is the secret room of all things to be kept
sealed and contained, to be conquered and renamed woman
enclosed by an empire of walls, vaults, hinges and locks with
the hot key that men and only men must possess for an eternal
evening to visit and contemplate, to snap open a favorite window
and gaze at the calibrated murder as lovers of beauty?

August Kleinzahler


How much meat moves
Into the city each night
The decks of its bridges tremble
In the liquefaction of sodium light
And the moon a chemical orange

Semitrailers strain their axles
Shivering as they take the long curve
Over warehouses and lofts
The wilderness of streets below
The mesh of it
With Joe on the front stoop smoking
And Louise on the phone with her mother

Out of the haze of industrial meadows
They arrive, numberless
Hauling tons of dead lamb
Bone and flesh and offal
Miles to the ports and channels
Of the city’s shimmering membrane
A giant breathing cell
Exhaling its waste
From the stacks by the river
And feeding through the night

The Tartar Swept

The Tartar swept across the plain
In their furs and silk panties
Snub-nosed monkey men with cinders for eyes
Attached to their ponies like centaurs
Forcing the snowy passes of the Carpathians
Streaming from defiles like columns of ants
Arraying their host in a vasty wheel
White, gray, black and chestnut steeds
10,000 each to a quadrant
Turning, turning at the Jenuye’s command
This terrible pinwheel
Gathering speed like a Bulgar dance
Faster and faster
Until it explodes, columns of horsemen
Peeling away in all the four directions
Hard across the puszta
Dust from their hooves darkening the sky
They fall upon village and town
Like raptors, like tigers, like wolves on the fold
Mauling the sza-szas
And leaving them senseless in puddles of goaty drool
Smashing balalaikas
Ripping the ears off hussars and pissing in the wounds
They for whom the back of a horse
Is their only country
For whom a roof and four walls is like unto a grave
And a city, ptuh, a city
A pullulating sore that exists to be scourged
Stinky dumb nomads with blood still caked
On shield and cuirass
And the yellow loess from the dunes of the Takla Makan
And the Corridor of Kansu
Between their toes and caught in their scalps
Like storm clouds in the distance
Fast approaching
With news of the steppes, the lagoons and Bitter Lakes
Edicts, torchings, infestation
The smoke of chronicles
Finding their way by the upper reaches
Of the Selinga and the Irtysh
To Issyk-Kul, the Aral, and then the Caspian
Vanquishing the Bashkirs and Alans
By their speed outstripping rumor
Tireless mounts, short-legged and strong
From whose backs arrows are expertly dispatched
As fast as they can be pulled from the quiver
Samarkand, Bukhara, Harat, Nishapur
More violent in every destruction
This race of men which had never before been seen
With their roving fierceness
Scarcely known to ancient documents
From beyond the edge of Scythia
From beyond the frozen ocean
Pouring out of the Caucasus
Surpassing every extreme of ferocity
From the Don to the Dniester
The Black Sea to the Pripet Marshes
Laying waste the Ostrogoth villages
Taking with them every last cookie
Then dicking the help
These wanton boys of nature
Who shot forward like a bolt from on high
Routing with great slaughter
All that they could come to grips with
In their wild career
Their beautiful shifting formations
Thousands advancing at the wave of a scarf
Then doubling back or making a turn
With their diabolical sallies and feints
Remorseless and in poor humor
So they arrived at the gates of Christendom

High School Confidential

Maria I love you Jesus
Your red lips you . . . Better
Than Angela but don’t say
can I walk you home later
Or maybe we could meet at Tito’s
So no one will see I like your
New shoes and blouse I notice
You every day talking with
Your friends before lunch
Did you see Felipe with those
guys last week I can’t believe
You ever really liked him

My mother works till 8
And her ugly boyfriend’s
Down in Fresno (I hope
Maybe he drops dead) so
Would you like to stop by
I could put on some music
Special favorites I think you
Would like them too you seem
So nice I mean when I look
At you you seem so nice so
Kind and pretty big brown eyes
Maria I love you Jesus

Información sobre el premio.
Información sobre Juan Felipe Herrera
Información sobre August Kleinzahler



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