Work, for the Night’s Coming by Jared Carter

Copyright 1981
Checked out 1 time in 30 years
Last checked out 30 years ago

This book is the winner of the Walt Whitman Award, given to a poet who has not yet published a full book of poetry. It’s not a bad selection for this library since the people of rural Indiana that he writes about aren’t terribly different from those who live here in Alabama. However, the people of Albertville have never warmed up to this book and there’s no strong reason to keep it on the shelf in the face of complete disinterest.

In general, I would not advise that libraries acquire winners of the Walt Whitman Award unless the winner is somehow connected to the library’s community. Remember, this is a first book. It may be stellar but it’s more likely to be mixed in terms of quality. I recommend libraries wait until poets reach a point in their careers that a “selected” or “collected” volume, perhaps with the inclusion of some new poems,  by the poet is available. At that point, the poet has shown some endurance and the poetry is likely of more consistent quality. In other words, it’s more likely to be worth the allocation of the library’s limited funds.


About jppoetryreader

Poetry reviewer and poetry consultant for libraries
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