Beth Bachmann’s new poems have won The Poetry Society of America’s 2011 Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award for a manuscript-in-progress. Judge Elizabeth Willis writes, in the citation, that “We feel the poems pushing against grammar and logic and into phenomena. Words and phrases break into ‘fire,’ into ‘splinters,’ into ‘fragments. At times it is as if we are watching a chemical reaction reset to the rhythm of human perception.”
One of Bachmann’s new poems, “muse of arms,” was posted on the PSA website with the commendation by Willis, who also notes about the new manuscript, “It is as if we could witness the decomposition and refiguring of the world within the decomposition and refiguring of the line.”
The Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award honors the memory of a benefactor of the PSA and carries with it a cash award of $1,000. Previous winners have included Natasha Saje (2008), Mary Jo Bang (2005), and Chana Bloch (2004).