American poet Forrest Gander has been awarded the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for his collection Be With (New Directions, 2018). The collection has been described by the Pulitzer committee, as quoted by Poetry Foundation, as “[a] collection of elegies that grapple with sudden loss, and the difficulties of expressing grief and yearning for the departed.”
The publisher of the collection further wrote, as mentioned on the website, “drawing from his experience as a translator, Forrest Gander includes in the first, powerfully elegiac section a version of a poem by the Spanish mystical poet St. John of the Cross. He continues with a long multilingual poem examining the syncretic geological and cultural history of the U.S. border with Mexico. The poems of the third section — a moving transcription of Gander’s efforts to address his mother dying of Alzheimer’s — rise from the page like hymns, transforming slowly from reverence to revelation. Gander has been called one of our most formally restless poets, and these new poems express a characteristically tensile energy and, as one critic noted, ‘the most eclectic diction since Hart Crane’.”
American poets Jos Charles and AE Stallings were named as finalists for their collections feeld and Like, respectively.
On the other hand, Richard Powers’ novel The Overstory, that presents the world through the perspective of trees, won for fiction. “From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, The Overstory unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond,” the publisher was quoted as saying on the website.