Award Winners

Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award - 2002

Andrew Zawacki



Nor were we immune to such evolve and overwhelm: a diminishing match the frontier of unbreaking, we vexed oscura to spark, hearing it inhabit a new constellation: neither the sisters who cluster for beauty nor Sirius in a bid for omnipotence, but waxflower and ironbark, plainchant of a diesel engine coruscating rock at the edge of across. Where— razorwire spiraled to prevent the dead from defecting, or ghosts from insinuating when least required— a floodlamp brailled the salt flats torn from a page too charred to read, as we wagered who the photographer was, cutting our hearts on the hours until sunrise, on anything not expired. The soul opting out through its second-hand lens: the eye that eroded from lexis to shadow, azured by estrange, or the eye beset by a looking glass inlet, a mile ago dark but now dazzling.


Strife of gravel and undertow, current against itself: because we hadn't looked behind, we could not find our way back. Invisible from the highway, its vaulted windows splintering the maverick corals of light, a conservatory came into view, upright and deflective as a phrase our conversation excluded, that kept recurring in skewed coincidence. Inside, seated at a table by herself, an infanta wearing a silk and ivory dress and waving a fan, taking tea as if she were still alive: unfaithful to August, the sun's arc, the seasons, inhabiting nowhere and never and falling in love.

C. D. Wright on Andrew Zawacki

These elegant poems bear the attention of a great bird of prey, with a large territory, and an eye that can account for every twig whether it stirs or not. The vocabulary that matches this act of attention is both seductive and severe. Though the poems are not written in line, they are poems that stay poems from the first word forward. There is so much riding on the language the page can barely contain it. There is in the same frame, a timeless languor to this writing. Revelations enter subtly; the rest is articulated by a startling presence.