National Book Finalists for Poetry

Get ready for the announcement of the winner of this $10,000 prize on Nov. 18. A roundup from The Washington Post:
  1. “Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude,” by Ross Gay
    A charming collection that gives readers permission to feel joyful. One finds a fig tree that brings neighbors together in Philadelphia, a man plays a flute and becomes the instrument, and a father’s ashes nurture a plum tree that in turn inspires the son.
  2. "How to Be Drawn,” by Terrance Hayes
    In this challenging collection, Hayes examines perception – how we see and are seen – through a variety of lenses that reveal the realities of life for black Americans.
  3. “Voyage of the Sable Venus,” by Robin Coste Lewis
    A surprising debut by a poet whose ambitious triptych considers the nuances of race and identity throughout time. Her sharp intelligence is matched by stunning insight and a wiliness to confront her own painful history.
  4. “Bright Dead Things,” by Ada Limón
    Limón balances power and wildness from the first page, where the speaker establishes her love of horses and the confidence they represent.
  5. “Elegy for a Broken Machine,” by Patrick Phillips
    Phillips does a brilliant job of capturing family tensions and connections between generations, and of giving new life – however briefly – to friends, acquaintances, and suicides whose passings have haunted him.