Second Childhood and Citizen Are Finalists for the National Book Award in Poetry


We are delighted to announce that Fanny Howe’s Second Childhood and Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric are finalists for the 2014 National Book Award in poetry. This is the first time that Graywolf has had two National Book Award finalists in one year; last year, Mary Szybist's Incarnadine became the first Graywolf book to win the prestigious award.

Second Childhood was published in July to widespread acclaim. O Magazine recently described Fanny Howe as “one of America’s most dazzling poets.” In a recent review in the New York Times Book Review, Craig Morgan Teicher praised the book for its “glimpses of the unseeable, shards of the unsayable, between the slats of the words, between meanings.”

Citizen: An American Lyric, is Claudia Rankine’s first new book in nearly a decade, and one of Graywolf’s most anticipated fall titles. “Citizen comes at you like doom,” wrote Hilton Als, author of White Girls, in his response to the book. “It’s the best note in the wrong song that is America. Its various realities—‘mistaken’ identity, social racism, the whole fabric of urban and suburban life—are almost too much to bear, but you bear them, because it’s the truth. Citizen is Rankine’s Spoon River Anthology, an epic as large and frightening and beautiful as the country and various emotional states that produced it.” Citizen was just published on October 7.


The shortlist was announced this morning on NPR’s Morning Edition. For a full list of finalists in all categories, please visit

[Update: Congratulations to Louise Glück, who took home the prize on November 19th!]