Sight Lines

Winner, National Book Awards 2019 for Poetry

ISBN 9781556595592
Copper Canyon Press
Arthur Sze

Arthur Sze is a poet, translator, and editor. He is the author of ten books of poetry and is a Professor Emeritus at the Institute of American Indian Arts. More about this author >

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From the publisher:

From the current phenomenon of drawing calligraphy with water in public parks in China to Thomas Jefferson laying out dinosaur bones on the White House floor, from the last sighting of the axolotl to a man who stops building plutonium triggers, Sight Lines moves through space and time and brings the disparate and divergent into stunning and meaningful focus. In this new work, Arthur Sze employs a wide range of voices―from lichen on a ceiling to a man behind on his rent―and his mythic imagination continually evokes how humans are endangering the planet; yet, balancing rigor with passion, he seizes the significant and luminous and transforms these moments into riveting and enduring poetry.

Judges Citation

Arthur Sze writes with a quiet mastery which generates beautiful, sensuous, inventive, and emotionally rich poems. Sight Lines unfurls like ink in water, circulating through meditations on the natural world; the pleasure and associational depth of eating food; and the profound constitutions of self through memory, human relationships, and experience of the actual world. A keen awareness arises of structural, environmental, and social threats in the midst of this expansive beauty.


Arthur Sze accepts the 2019 National Book Award for Poetry for Sight Lines