Award Winners

Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award - 2006

G. C. Waldrep


A little winter, a drop at winter, a descent and then a steeper dwindling in the depths of winter, a snowdrop. A small sketch. A snowdrop signals the end of one thing and the beginning of another, a wider imprecation. How do you do. How does one do. A snowdrop reminds.

To begin. There is a market, there is buying and selling, there is that proverbial marrying and being given in marriage as one joins another. And suits this action, as from field, as from the space defined within a field, as from a white flag. Sixteen cents allowing for the anachronism which is a necessary liberty as with marriage as with may I hold you, may I kiss your lips, may I move my hand between your cheek and neck, between your neck and the basin of your shoulders. May I purchase this felt hat. Yes thank you.

In the road they were married and marrying. In the mud and dung which were frozen it being winter, or almost winter, or barely yet winter signaling outward to some different season. Some on horseback, some on foot. They were not thinking of dying. They were trading places with the dead, this is continual, this from moment to moment is what we call life. Some were some were not thinking of money. Some were not thinking of sleep.

What is sleep. Sleep is the penetration of value by a perfect means. In any resurrection there may be doubts, there may be misgivings, there may well be interruptions, there may be the confidence of a period style. There may be distortion this may be one aim. Any performance is a rondeau and so not drawn from legacy. Any performance is provisional, as pence for francs or dollars for rubles. (See What is ballet.)

If one cannot imagine a snowdrop then one might imagine its absence. A snowdrop as its own absence, a snowdrop is its own absence, a snowdrop absent. A snowdrop. White on white / on white.

Forrest Gander on G. C. Waldrep

Purportedly structured in the manner of a "gamut" or musical self-instruction manual, Archicembalo features lapidary prose poems notable for their gorgeously orchestrated rhythmic pulse, their prosodic patterning, and their subtle melodic figuration. With fluent shifts from normative syntax to fragment to question-and-answer, from arpeggiated single words to lush sequences of clauses, the poems are as intricate as the mouth-parts of a sea urchin. The diction, imaginative and rich, limns a world that is as strange as it is familiar. Milton's Satan's description of a "lowest depth" in which a still "lower deep...opens wide" comes to mind; but the depths of these poems open laterally and we want to keep entering.