Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry


Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry

The Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry is awarded biennially by the Library of Congress on behalf of the nation in recognition for the most distinguished book of poetry written by an American and published during the preceding two years.

The Prize

The $10,000 prize winner is chosen by a three-member jury appointed by a selection committee composed of the Librarian of Congress, the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, a publisher named by the Academy of American Poets and a literary critic nominated by the Bobbitt family. Awarded for "the Most Distinguished Book of Poetry Published in 2006 or 2007, OR For Lifetime Achievement in Poetry", nomininations come from publishers, and is given only to living American poets. The criteria for the award are that nominee's must be a poets first poetry books or books composed of new work of any length. Collected or selected works qualify only if they include at least thirty new poems previously unpublished in book form with prior publication in print media being acceptable.

At the sole discretion of the judging panel, they may instead award the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Poetry. There is no nomination process for this award, and it has to date not been given.United States Library of Congress. [ cite web|url=http://www.loc.gov/poetry/bobbitt-rules.html |title=Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry - Poetry (Library of Congress) |accessdate=2008-03-30 |work=Library of Congress Website |publisher=United States Library of Congress |archiveurl=http://www.webcitation.org/5WgK4Yr1Q |archivedate=2008-03-29 ]

History

Mrs. Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt was the eldest sister of Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President of the United States. Born in 1910 in Stonewall, Texas, she worked in the cataloging department of the Library of Congress in the 1930's before her brother entered politics. Whilst there, she met college student Oscar Price (O.P) Bobbitt, who also worked in the department. Bobbitt courted Rebekah with love poems typed on index cards and passed secretly to her under the nose of supervisors. After marrying, they returned to Texas and began a family. She died in 1978. [ cite web|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D07E7D61339F933A15751C1A9669C8B63 |title=$10,000 Bobbitt Poetry Prize Is Awarded To David Ferry |accessdate=2008-03-30 |last=Molotsky |first=Irvin |date=2000-12-20 |work=The New York Times |publisher=The New York Times |archiveurl=http://www.webcitation.org/5WhIvtsnF |archivedate=2008-03-30 ]

Established in her memory in 1988 by her son, Professor Philip C. Bobbitt and her husband, the Bobbitt prize was the first national poetry award given in almost 40 years. In 1949, Congress placed a 40-year ban on Library prizes following controversy over the Library's awarding of the 1948 Bollingen National Prize for Poetry to Ezra Pound for his "Pisan Cantos". Following the public outcry at the time of the award to Pound, the Joint Congressional Committee on the Library of Congress in 1949 adopted a policy prohibiting the Library henceforth from granting any more awards or prizes.

James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, is quoted as stating: "The family relation to the Library is a great love story and it is too good not to want to savor, commemorate and celebrate." [ cite journal|title=Frank Bidart Awaded Bobbitt Prize (December 1998)|journal=Library of Congress Information Bulletin|date=December 1998|first=Yvonne|last=French|coauthors=|volume=57|issue=12|pages=|id= |url=http://www.loc.gov/loc/lcib/9812/bidart.html|format=|accessdate=2008-03-30 ]

Three-time Poet Laureate, Robert Pinsky, said of the Prize in 2000, “I don’t know of any other literary prize that has such a high standard.” [ cite web|url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D07E7D61339F933A15751C1A9669C8B63 |title=$10,000 Bobbitt Poetry Prize Is Awarded To David Ferry |accessdate=2008-03-30 |last=Molotsky |first=Irvin |date=2000-12-20 |work=The New York Times |publisher=The New York Times |archiveurl=http://www.webcitation.org/5WhIvtsnF |archivedate=2008-03-30 ]

Winners

*2006 - W.S. Merwin for "Present Company"
*2004 - B.H. Fairchild for "Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest"
*2002 - Alice Fulton for "Felt"
*2000 - David Ferry for "Of No Country I Know: New and Selected Poems and Translations"
*1998 - Frank Bidart for "Desire"
*1996 - Kenneth Koch for "One Train"
*1994 - A. R. Ammons for "Garbage"
*1992 - Louise Glück for "Ararat" and Mark Strand for "The Continuous Life"
*1990 - James Merrill for "The Inner Room"

ee also

*American poetry
*List of poetry awards
*List of American literary awards
*List of literary awards
*List of years in poetry
*List of years in literature

External links

* [http://www.loc.gov/poetry/ The Poetry and Literature Center of the Library of Congress]

References


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