The 2007 National Book Award has been awarded to former U.S. poet laureate Robert Hass for his newest collection of poetry, Time and Materials, and Denis Johnson for his novel Tree of Smoke. Visit the Iowa Writers' Workshop website for their exclusive article on the event. Other winners included Tim Weiner for his non-ficiton work Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA, and Sherman Alexie for his Young People's Literature selection The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. The authors join the ranks of William Carlos Williams, William Faulkner, Saul Bellow, Wallace Stevens, and others who have been honored with the award since its inception in 1950.
The Foundation lauded Robert Hass' book Time and Materials as "grounded in the beauty and energy of the physical world, and in the bafflement of the present moment in American culture." The New York Times Book Review claimed that the collection holds Hass' "best and most careful verse in almost 30 years." Hass was the nation's Poet Laureate for two terms, from 1995 to 1997, and has received numerous awards for his poetry. He teaches at The University of California, Berkeley, and is a visiting professor at The University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop.
National Book Foundation >> Robert Hass
University of California, Berkeley >> Robert Hass: Eight years of activism, writing, and reflection
The New Yorker >> Late and Soon: Mark Strand and Robert Hass, collected in tranquillity
Denis Johnson's Tree of Smoke has been proclaimed as "a masterpiece...the product of an extraordinary writer in full stride," and "a beautifully layered, insightful and visceral montage of stories." Denis Johnson is currently on a writing assignment in Iraq and could not be present for the ceremony. He sent a statement which was read by his wife, Cindy, on Wednesday night: ''I am very sorry to miss this one chance to dress up in a tuxedo in front of so many representatives from the world of literature, and say thank you.'' Johnson is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop at The University of Iowa, and is the recipient of a Lannan Fellowship and a Whiting Writer's Award.
New York Times >> Vietnam War Novel Wins National Book Award
The Washington Post >> Johnson's 'Tree of Smoke' Wins National Book Award
Associated Press >> 'Tree of Smoke' wins National Book Award