The 2022 National Book Awards Longlist: Poetry

This week, The New Yorker will be announcing the longlists for the 2022 National Book Awards. On Wednesday, we presented the lists for Young People’s Literature and Translated Literature. Check back this afternoon for Nonfiction.

Rio Cortez’s “Black Frasier Crane,” published this summer in The New Yorker, reimagines the famous sitcom character as a Black woman who is unable to shut off “the mind’s / endless narration.” The poem, a rumination on race and class, appears in the collection “Golden Ax,” along with others that reimagine Cortez’s forebears as “Afropioneers” who played a role in exploring the American West after Reconstruction.

“Golden Ax,” which has been long-listed for this year’s National Book Award in Poetry, is one of several contenders that call on real or imagined ancestors. “Mummy Eaters,” by Sherry Shenoda, a dialogue between the author and an imagined predecessor, draws on ancient-Egyptian history and mythology to visualize the journey to the afterlife. “The Rupture Tense,” by Jenny Xie, which investigates the state-sanctioned loss of memory in China, draws inspiration from the photojournalist Li Zhensheng’s visual documentation of the Cultural Revolution. John Keene’s “Punks” includes unpublished and new work on love, lust, family, Blackness, and queerness. Quincy Troupe’s “Duende” honors the memory of those lost to the transatlantic slave trade and pays tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement.

The list was drawn from a total of two hundred and sixty submissions from publishers. Three of this year’s long-listed poets—Jay Hopler, Sharon Olds, and Jenny Xie—have been honored by the National Book Awards before. The full list is below.

Rio Cortez, “Golden Ax
Penguin Books / Penguin Random House

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, “Look at This Blue
Coffee House Press

Jay Hopler, “Still Life

John Keene, “Punks: New & Selected Poems
The Song Cave

Sharon Olds, “Balladz
Alfred A. Knopf / Penguin Random House

Roger Reeves, “Best Barbarian
W. W. Norton & Company

Sherry Shenoda, “Mummy Eaters
University of Nebraska Press

Quincy Troupe, “Duende: Poems, 1966-Now
Seven Stories Press

Shelley Wong, “As She Appears
YesYes Books

Jenny Xie, “The Rupture Tense
Graywolf Press

The judges for the category this year are Kwame Dawes, who has written twenty-two books of poetry; the former United States Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera; Keetje Kuipers, the author of “All Its Charms”; January Gill O’Neil, the former executive director of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival; and Mai Der Vang, whose poetry collection “Afterland” was long-listed for the National Book Award in 2017. ♦

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