Young writers, working mainly in deep private, even if they are in an MFA program, even if they have found their way to a coterie as some poets do, feel themselves when they are lucky to be conjuring a kind of magic, as if they were shaping liquid phospher, and then the work is done, with whatever psychic magic they've put into it and taken from it, and then what do you do? Looking at the world one of the things they'd see, have seen, is the National Poetry Series--poets reading poets in order to publish new work and keep the art fresh, keep renewing it. Not for the world at large but for those poets, the new ones or the ones with no special connection to the world of publishing, the NPS has been crucial, a flare in the dark, and it needs to be kept alive. -- Robert Hass
For each of the past 35 years, under the stewardship of Daniel Halpern, the National Poetry Series has published five books of poetry. Do the math: that's 175 books of poetry by some of our most promising poets. The winning manuscripts, solicited through an annual Open Competition, are selected by poets of national stature and published in beautiful gift-worthy volumes. The list of winners is impressive. Three NPS poets have gone to win the National Book Award: Mark Doty, Terrance Hayes, and Nathaniel Mackey. Billy Collins, an NPS winner, became Poet Laureate of the United States. Judges have included many of major contemporary poets, including Nobel Prize winners Seamus Heaney and Derek Walcott, and Pulitzer Prize winners Louise Gluck, Robert Hass, Stephen Dunn and Jorie Graham. Click through the thumbnails below to see the 2012 winners:
Now, for the first time, the National Poetry Series is facing a financial crisis and is asking for our help. You can read more about the Series' financial shortfall in the New York Times.
You can easily make a donation to the National Poetry Series with PayPal. Find the details on the NPS website.
Or you can mail a donation to:
National Poetry Series
57 Mountain Avenue
Princeton, NJ 08540
Consider these testimonials:
Every year I look forward to buying the five books published in the National Poetry Series. It's like having a curator who gathers again and again the most exciting and diverse collections of poetry in the country, selections that continue to represent the breadth of American poetry. Not only is it the most distinguished series, it is also the only one I know of that consistently identifies, at an early stage in their careers, the writers we are likely to be reading for a long time. -- Natasha Trethewey, Poet Laureate of the United States.
By enabling five new volumes of poetry to appear annually over the past 35 years, the National Poetry Series has radically changed the face of American poetry. A number of poets who are now among our best-known first appeared there as beginners, and might never have been heard from were it not for the publication opportunity the Series offers. It's vital to our literary health as a nation that the work continue. - John Ashbery
How do today's poets, especially lesser-known ones, find an audience? How are readers, or would-be readers, introduced to new poets? Efforts to make this connection come alive deserve our gratitude and support, and the National Poetry Series is one of the most successful and long-lived. If you’re familiar with it, you know the quality and quantity of books it’s brought before the public. If you’re not, take a look at the list of works and poets (not to mention those who’ve served as judges) – and decide for yourself. - Jeffrey Brown, PBS News Hour
We hope you will help keep this necessary series in mind when you make your holiday donations to worthy institutions.