This April marks the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month, which was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. Over the years, National Poetry Month has become the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets acknowledging poetry’s vital place in our culture.
At the University of Notre Dame Press, we are proud to feature two of our recently published poetry titles. Times Beach by John Shoptaw is the winner of the Notre Dame Review Book Prize. Shoptaw teaches at the University of California, Berkeley, and is well-known for his work in ecopoetics. Times Beach has been widely praised by reviewers. Foreword Reviews said, “The uncanny combination of experience and skills is what places John Shoptaw at the very summit of nature poets.” St. Louis Magazine.com called the book, “an extremely well-made work that hearkens to Hart Crane and Walt Whitman, rhythm and blues, and the American experience of individual voices."
Shoptaw’s article Why Ecopoetry? appeared in a recent issue of Poetry magazine.
Our other new title is Underdays by Martin Ott, winner of the Ernest Sandeen Prize in Poetry. A former U.S. Army interrogator, Ott is the author of six books of poetry and fiction. In this collection, he combines global concerns with personal ones, in conversation between poems or within them, to find meaning in his search for what drives us to love and hate each other. Victoria Chang, author of The Boss, says, “In Martin Ott’s new book there’s nature, children, desire, war, and Los Angeles, but everything is shrouded with the speaker’s experiences as an interrogator in the military—an institution that leaves nothing untouched, even Ott’s haunting and dark poetry.”
On March 10, 2016, Ott read from Underdays and other new work at the Hammes Bookstore, located on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. You can watch the reading here.