2016 National Book Award Longlist, Poetry
World of Made and Unmade
(Alice James Books)
National Book Foundation: Who did you write this book for?
Jane Mead: The inspiration for a poem has a way of arriving unannounced—some combination of phrase, image, and rhythmic cast sparks the imagination. Then all your knowledge of craft and world are brought to bear upon the little scrap to shape it into something comprehensible. You navigate a poem to its completion, guided by your sense of aesthetic, included in which is the changing notion of what “comprehensible” means. All of this takes us a long way from writing for a particular audience. Nonetheless—when I am told that this book speaks to someone in grief, making loss somehow more manageable, or that the book makes more real the people we are talking about when we discuss immigration between the US and Mexico—whenever I am told I have reached someone, the feeling of gratitude is unspeakably, overwhelmingly gratifying.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Jane Mead's fifth collection candidly and openly explores the long process that is death. These resonant poems discover what it means to live, die, and come home again. We're drawn in by sorrow and grief, but also the joys of celebrating a long life and how simple it is to find laughter and light in the quietest and darkest of moments.
About the Author
Jane Mead is the author of three previous collections of poetry. Her poems have been published widely in anthologies and journals and she is the recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, a Whiting Writers’ Award, and a Lannan Fellowship. She teaches at the Drew University low-residency MFA program in Poetry and Poetry in Translation.