National Book Awards Acceptance Speeches

Hayden Carruth, Winner of the 1996 POETRY AWARD for Scrambled Eggs & Whiskey


All right. I'll say a couple of words. Thank you. I am truly honored, and I want to extend a special thanks to The National Book Foundation, Neil Baldwin, sponsors for making this evening and this award possible. Hayden is unable to be here. He asked that I convey to you his gratitude for the honor of your attention to his work. Like most poets, Hayden writes out of a passionate commitment to his art, and he is disinclined toward competition in the practice of his poetry. He gratefully accepts this honor and the spirit of good will in which it is offered, and he regrets that he is unable to be here in person. Five years ago, Hayden's books were largely unavailable and out of print, and Copper Canyon published his Collected Shorter Poems, which was also nominated for a National Book Award and didn't win.

Since then, we've gone on to publish three more of his books, and are looking forward to publishing a collection of his autobiographical essays. These books, and other Copper Canyon Press poetry titles, and other poetry titles in this country, are often published with assistance from the National Endowment for the Arts -- our threatened National Endowment for the Arts -- and many individuals who make contributions and foundations whose generosity supports non-profit publishing and Hayden's work. I want to extend a special thanks to them, as well. Thank you.