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Pulitzer Prize Winners dating back to 1918
The 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry was awarded to the collection Be With by Forrest Gander. It’s one of the most unusual collections of poetry I’ve ever encountered; I’ve read it three times now and each time it seems a different book.

Be With is a collection of different kinds and forms of poetry. It is less a collection of poems than it is meditations upon the personal and the intimate, even when it talks about things that’s aren’t personal or intimate. It is a collection of poetry that is about the beauty of language, and how beauty and language can be used to describe and evoke profoundly deep feelings.

The collection officially contains 18 poems. Many of those poems are themselves collections of poems that could easily stand on their own. But grouped together, they become poems telling stories — of caring for an aging mother, of chasing personal demons, of a love relationship, of a border crossing (mostly illegal), and of interpreting a series of black-and-white photographs.

And then I wonder if Be With is a fourth book — a kind of beauty-studded guidebook.

Come with Gander to Tuscany, as he considers the Madonna del Parto. Fairly common in 14th century Italy (there’s even a museum that focuses on it), a Madonna del Parto is a depiction of the pregnant Virgin Mary. Painted by many artists, this portrayal of Mary was associated with prayers for safe delivery of a child. Knowing that, consider what Gander does with it.

Pulitzer Prize Winners for Poetry from 1918-2013

2013 Stag's Leap by Sharon Olds (Alfred A. Knopf)
A book of unflinching poems on the author's divorce that examine love, sorrow and the limits of self-knowledge.

2012 Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith (Graywolf Press)
A collection of bold, skillful poems, taking readers into the universe and moving them to an authentic mix of joy and pain.

2011 The Best of It: New and Selected Poems by Kay Ryan (Grove/Atlantic)
A body of work spanning 45 years, witty, rebellious and yet tender, a treasure trove of an iconoclastic and joyful mind.

2010 Versed by Rae Armantrout (Wesleyan University Press)
A book striking for its wit and linguistic inventiveness, offering poems that are often little thought-bombs detonating in the mind long after the first reading.

2009 The Shadow of Sirius by W.S. Merwin (Copper Canyon Press)
A collection of often tender poems that focus on the profound power of memory.

2008 Time and Materials by Robert Hass (Ecco/HarperCollins)
2008 Failure by Philip Schultz (Harcourt)

2007 Native Guard by Natasha Trethewey (Houghton Mifflin)

2006 Late Wife by Claudia Emerson (Louisiana State University Press)

2005 Delights & Shadows by Ted Kooser (Copper Canyon Press)

2004 Walking to Martha's Vineyard by Franz Wright (Alfred A. Knopf)

2003 Moy Sand and Gravel by Paul Muldoon (Farrar)

2002 Practical Gods by Carl Dennis (Penguin Books)

2001 Different Hours by Stephen Dunn (W.W. Norton & Company)

2000 Repair by C.K. Williams (Farrar)

1999 Blizzard of One by Mark Strand (Alfred A. Knopf)

1998 Black Zodiac by Charles Wright (Farrar)

1997 Alive Together: New and Selected Poems by Lisel Mueller

1996 The Dream of the Unified Field by Jorie Graham (The Ecco Press)

1995 The Simple Truth by Philip Levine (Alfred A. Knopf)

1994 Neon Vernacular: New and Selected Poems by Yusef Komunyakaa (Wesleyan University Press/University Press of New England)

1993 The Wild Iris by Louise Gluck (The Ecco Press)

1992 Selected Poems by James Tate (Wesleyan University Press)

1991 Near Changes by Mona Van Duyn (Alfred A. Knopf)

1990 The World Doesn't End by Charles Simic (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich)

1989 New and Collected Poems by Richard Wilbur (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich)

1988 Partial Accounts: New and Selected Poems by William Meredith (Alfred A. Knopf)

1987 Thomas and Beulah by Rita Dove (Carnegie-Mellon University Press)

1986 The Flying Change by Henry Taylor (Louisiana State University Press)

1985 Yin by Carolyn Kizer (BOA Editions)

1984 American Primitive by Mary Oliver (Atlanti'Little)

1983 Selected Poems by Galway Kinnell (Houghton Mifflin)

1982 The Collected Poems by the late Sylvia Plath (a posthumous publication) (Harper & Row)

1981 The Morning of the Poem by James Schuyler (Farrar)

1980 Selected Poems by Donald Justice (Atheneum)

1979 Now and Then by Robert Penn Warren (Random)

1978 Collected Poems by Howard Nemerov (Univ. of Chicago)

1977 Divine Comedies by James Merrill (Atheneum)

1976 Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror by John Ashbery (Viking)

1975 Turtle Island by Gary Snyder (New Directions)

1974 The Dolphin by Robert Lowell (Farrar)

1973 Up Country by Maxine Kumin (Harper)

1972 Collected Poems by James Wright (Wesleyan Univ. Press)

1971 The Carrier of Ladders by William S. Merwin (Atheneum)

1970 Untitled Subjects by Richard Howard (Atheneum)

1969 Of Being Numerous by George Oppen (New Directions)

1968 The Hard Hours by Anthony Hecht (Atheneum)

1967 Live or Die by Anne Sexton (Houghton)

1966 Selected Poems by Richard Eberhart (New Directions)

1965 77 Dream Songs by John Berryman (Farrar)

1964 At The End Of The Open Road by Louis Simpson (Wesleyan Univ. Press)

1963 Pictures from Brueghel by the late William Carlos Williams (New Directions)

1962 Poems by Alan Dugan (Yale Univ. Press)

1961 Times Three: Selected Verse From Three Decades by Phyllis McGinley (Viking)

1960 Heart's Needle by W. D. Snodgrass (Knopf)

1959 Selected Poems 1928-1958 by Stanley Kunitz (Little)

1958 Promises: Poems 1954-1956 by Robert Penn Warren (Random)

1957 Things of This World by Richard Wilbur (Harcourt)

1956 Poems - North & South by Elizabeth Bishop (Houghton)

1955 Collected Poems by Wallace Stevens (Knopf)

1954 The Waking by Theodore Roethke (Doubleday)

1953 Collected Poems 1917-1952 by Archibald MacLeish (Houghton)

1952 Collected Poems by Marianne Moore (Macmillan)

1951 Complete Poems by Carl Sandburg (Harcourt)

1950 Annie Allen by Gwendolyn Brooks (Harper)

1949 Terror and Decorum by Peter Viereck (Scribner)

1948 The Age of Anxiety by W. H. Auden (Random)

1947 Lord Weary's Castle by Robert Lowell (Harcourt)

1946 (No Award)

1945 V-Letter and Other Poems by Karl Shapiro (Reynal)

1944 Western Star by the late Stephen Vincent Benet (Farrar)

1943 A Witness Tree by Robert Frost (Holt)

1942 The Dust Which Is God by William Rose Benet (Dodd)

1941 Sunderland Capture by Leonard Bacon (Harper)

1940 Collected Poems by Mark Van Doren (Holt)

1939 Selected Poems by John Gould Fletcher (Farrar)

1938 Cold Morning Sky by Marya Zaturenska (Macmillan)

1937 A Further Range by Robert Frost (Holt)

1936 Strange Holiness by Robert P. Tristram Coffin (Macmillan)

1935 Bright Ambush by Audrey Wurdemann (John Day)

1934 Collected Verse by Robert Hillyer (Knopf)

1933 Conquistador by Archibald Macleish (Houghton)

1932 The Flowering Stone by George Dillon (Viking)

1931 Collected Poems by Robert Frost (Holt)

1930 Selected Poems by Conrad Aiken (Scribner)

1929 John Browns Body by Stephen Vincent Benet (Farrar)

1928 Tristram by Edwin Arlington Robinson (Macmillan)

1927 Fiddler's Farewell by Leonora Speyer (Knopf)

1926 What's O'Clock by the late Amy Lowell (Houghton)

1925 The Man Who Died Twice by Edwin Arlington Robinson (Macmillan)

1924 New Hampshire: A Poem with Notes and Grace Notes by Robert Frost (Holt)

1923 The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver: A Few Figs from Thistles: Eight Sonnets American Poetry

1922. A Miscellany by Edna St. Vincent Millay (Harper)

1922 Collected Poems by Edwin Arlington Robinson (Macmillan)

1919 Corn Huskers by Carl Sandburg
This award was made possible by a special grant from The Poetry Society.

1919 Old Road to Paradise by Margaret Widdemer
This award was made possible by a special grant from The Poetry Society.

1918 Love Songs by Sara Teasdale
This award was made possible by a special grant from The Poetry Society.

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