The Long Haul to the Short List

As scholarly publishers, we devote a considerable portion of our resources to prizes: researching which awards books are eligible for, budgeting to cover the costs of submissions, sending copies of books to judges, and then waiting in anticipation of happy news.

Prizes are a big deal. For the authors, obviously, but also for the publishers who have nurtured and promoted the book and believe it should win–if only the judges will agree with us.

And sometimes, they do. Today was one of those days. Matt Rasmussen, a fine poet and a really nice guy, was selected by the judges of the National Book Award as a finalist for his poetry collection, Black Aperture. A moving and personal series of poems focused on the suicide of his brother, the poems could have veered quickly towards maudlin. Instead, we are given an insightful look into the ways grief and anguish converge with laughter and love.

Clearly, the NBA judges recognized the originality of Rasmussen’s work and the skill of his delivery, and here’s hoping for a win for him on November 20th!

MaryKatherine Callaway
Director, LSU Press