The NBA winners have been announced.
In Young People's Literature: Sherman Alexie for The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (which I actually just bought and can't wait to read! I love a good YA novel now and then, and I really like Sherman Alexie's work)
In Poetry: Robert Hass for Time and Materials
In Non-Fiction: Tim Weiner for Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA
In Fiction: Denis Johnson for Tree of Smoke
I don't know why I found myself so interested in these awards; I don't know any of the nominees (well, I met Sherman Alexie for thirty seconds once, which hardly counts) and I haven't read most of the books. I guess a little part of me wants the writing life to be glamorous. Which it's never going to be. Maybe if you're Sherman Alexie or Robert Hass you get a little moment of glamor now and then (okay, if you're Sherman Rockstar Alexie maybe you get a little more than that). But for most of us, we're just thrilled on the odd occasion that we get an email from somebody saying hey, I liked your poem. I mean, when that happens? It makes my day. No, it makes my WEEK. Actually, I've had a couple of very nice compliments from poets I seriously admired (the kind you replay over and over in your mind for years), and I don't think any award could feel better than that.
I guess the moral of that story is, if you find poems that you like, drop a line to a poet now and then to let them know. Because you can't give out National Book Awards, but you can give out compliments -- and sometimes, it really matters to someone.