April 13, 2011 Beth Bachmann, an assistant professor in the creative-writing program at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, has won the prestigious Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award from the Poetry Society of America. The prize, which carries a stipend of $1,000, is given to a work in progress. Bachmann’s entry is called Flaw— a title, and a concept, that particularly impressed judge Elizabeth Willis: “I have long believed in the generative quality of ‘mistakes’ and asymmetries, and I admire Beth Bachmann’s boldly titled Flaw. The collection’s conceptual center—and its most insistent word—is ‘open.'” Willis goes on to note that the poems in the collection “have a stripped-down, investigatory drive. Where the manuscript begins, everything ‘wants out,’ and this outward pressure moves the work into a series of shifts, cuts, turns, magnetic pulls. Water on the tongue disappears into snow, snow gives way to a lake. It is as if we could witness the decomposition and refiguring of the world within the decomposition and refiguring of the line.”
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