Tuesday, January 15, 2019

National Book Award for Poetry: “Indecency” by Justin Phillip Reed

The 2018 National Book Award for Poetry was given to Indecency by Justin Phillip Reed. Reed is a young poet living in St. Louis. Indecency is his first published collection; he had published a chapbook, A History of Flamboyance, in 2016.

I saw the National Book Award announcement, but I didn’t realize the St. Louis connection. A couple of days after the announcement, the “good news” columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had a brief item about Reed being a poet living in St. Louis. Later, the book editor included a short note and the Associated Press story about the winners on her book blog. 

A St. Louis poet, with strong connections to Washington University in St. Louis included an M.F.A. degree and a junior writer position wins the National Book Award for Poetry, and that’s how the local paper covers it? Go figure. At least Washington University issued two new releases, one from the university and one from its College of Arts & Sciences. This past May, St. Louis Magazine did an interview with Reed specifically about his new collection, and it’s filled with interesting ideas and discussion. (Read the interview; he explains where the title of the collection came from.)

To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.

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