Friday, July 1, 2011

right choices

I wonder how many of the Whiting Award winners

have turned out to be worthwhile? Percentage wise.

You probably couldn't include Sylvia Moss in that count, right?

Sylvia Moss, one of the earlier Whiting recipients,

she got the Whiting after having her first book published

via Dan Halpern's National Poetry Series.

She was a double winner that miracle year, first gaining book-publication

in the National Poetry Series—

the judge who selected her for that prize was Derek Walcott—

and then, soon after that, she got the Whiting. 40 grand, right?

I think (if I'm not mistaken) that the judges for the Whiting (and
perhaps the nominators also) are anonymous, unknown,


Since achieving those magnificent awards—


since acing those prestigious honors two or more decades ago, Moss has been


I mean she's never put out (at least to my knowledge) another book, a second book

(or if she did, it must have been issued by a press small enough to escape my notice)—

I've never seen her verse in any magazine since that time. (Has she ever been BAP'd?)

She has (if I'm mistaken, shoot me) quite vanished from the menu

of contemporary USAPO.

(Where is Sylvia, where is she, whom superbards at once commended?
Ask Derek and Dan. Her day, it seems, has long since ended.)

Derek Walcott, Daniel Halpern, and all

those mysterious hidden
secret (skulking in their pelf-lined chambers) muckamuck judges

at the Whiting Foundation,

they're all intelligent professionals, right? They know what they're doing.
There they are: fair, equitable, open-minded, even-handed.

So aboveboard, so scrupulous (especially Walcott, right?)—

so circumspect
, so unbiased in their deliberations.


So astute—so percipient—so prescient!

How authoritative their verdicts. How sagacious—

In short, they know which horse to put their money on. Most of the time, anyway—

One thing's for sure:

they didn't put it on me.

The National Poetry Series and the Whiting Foundation rejected all my efforts—

Which proves they made at least one right choice, doesn't it?



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