Alumnus poet named National Book Award finalist
Posted: October 21, 2011
By Kathryn Kopchik
LEWISBURG, Pa. — Bruce Smith, a 1968 Bucknell graduate, has been named a finalist for a National Book Award for his most recent collection of poems, Devotions (University of Chicago Press, 2011).
Stephen Burt of The New York Times Book Review has said, "Bruce Smith's new poems move fast and travel far ... Most books of new poems are either too long or leave readers wanting more. Devotions does neither; it is ample as well as ambitious, agile and unpredictable as well as viscerally affecting. For all that its born-to-run characters yearn for escape, it's a book to stay inside; it's exhausting to read, and yet it's a book to get lost in, one you won't exhaust any time soon."
Smith is the author of five previous volumes of poetry, including The Other Lover (2000), which was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.
A Discovery/The Nation Award winner, he has received a Guggenheim Fellowship as well as grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Foundation for the Arts. In 2010 he received an award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
His work has appeared in The Best American Poetry, 2003 and 2004, The New Yorker, The Nation, The New Republic, The Paris Review, The Partisan Review, Kenyon Review, Poetry, The American Poetry Review and the 2009 Pushcart Prize anthology, and were included in the Best of the Small Presses anthology for 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010. Essays and reviews of his have appeared in Harvard Review, Boston Review and Newsday.
Smith has been a co-editor of the Graham House Review and a contributing editor of Born Magazine. A professor of English at Syracuse University since 2002, he has taught at Tufts, Boston and Harvard universities, at Portland State and Lewis & Clark College, and at the University of Alabama.
Established in 1950, the National Book Award is an American literary prize given to writers by writers and administered by the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization. Winners will be announced in November.
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