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Congratulations Chris Forhan

May 22, 2008

Nuvo this week gave a well-deserved thumbs up to Butler University assistant professor of English Chris Forhan for scooping up his second major prize of the year. After already being honored by having a poem published in the Best American Poetry 2008 he has just snagged the Pushcart Prize for his poem “Love, or Something.”

A simple Google search reveals that Chris Forhan is already in esteemed company as a poet with poems in the Paris Review, Ploughshares and others. You can also hear him here, reading his poem “Vanishing Act” for Slate Magazine’s Weekly Poem, Read by the Author feature.

I could go on about the photo album imagery that powers the poem, the stillness captured in half lines like “the house exhales him” but instead I would rather draw your attention to Forhan’s reading of his line ends.

Many poets, for any number of reasons, either write poems placing line ends willy-nilly or–more tragically–write poems with very deliberate line ends but read them as if they lie elsewhere in the poem. Forhan commits no such fallacy here and it adds the expected gravity and anticipation to such lines as

On the windowsill

an iris in a vase will have taken
the last water into its cut stem. I will

notice it…

that otherwise would have fallen flat with a less conscientious reading.

I feel I should briefly mention that this year’s Best American Poetry was put together by guest editor Charles Wright–no slouch as a poet himself. He won the Pulitzer in 1998 for Black Zodiac; and, nine of his poems have been chosen for previous Best American editions…as well as several other prestigious awards.

This entry was posted by: Jim
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