Announcing the 2005 recipient of the prestigious Yale Younger Poets prize
Jay Hopler’s Green Squall is the winner of the 2005 Yale Series of Younger Poets competition. As Louise Glück observes in her foreword, “Green Squall begins and ends in the garden”; however, Hopler’s gardens are not of the seasonal variety evoked by poets of the English lyric—his gardens flourish at lower, fiercer latitudes and in altogether different mindscapes. There is a darkness in Hopler’s work as deep and brutal as any in American poetry. Though his verbal extravagance and formal invention bring to mind Wallace Stevens’s tropical extrapolations, there lies beneath Green Squall’s lush tropical surfaces a terrifying world in which nightmare and celebration are indistinguishable, and hope is synonymous with despair.
Jay Hopler (1970–2022) earned degrees from New York University, Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and Purdue University. He taught at the University of South Florida. His third poetry collection, Still Life, was a finalist for the 2023 Pulitzer Prize.
“The Yale Series of Younger Poets remains the most prestigious [poetry contest], and Hopler’s work is an excellent addition to a list that’s included James Wright, Adrienne Rich, and Carolyn Forche. . . . Highly recommended.”—Library Journal
“An alternately ecstatic and self-deprecating speaker measures himself against a ravishing and disinterested natural world that is sometimes a mirror, sometimes an unattainable aspiration. The dialogue in these 34 poems is mostly between the speaker and himself, allowing for pained self-negations. . . . The best of these poems are truly stunning.”—Publishers Weekly
“Hopler writes powerful, sometimes rowdy, always revelatory, poems about attempting to transcend the banality of everyday life.”—Baltimore Magazine
“The book unfolds with an ingenious rhythm, encompassing and modulating extremes of expression that run parallel to the extragavances of the portrayed world. . . . Green Squall . . . is a lively affair of the whole being.”—Ron Slate, Blackbird
Winner of the Bronze Medal in the Poetry Category for the 2006 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award
Winner of the 2007 Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award for Poetry
Winner in the Poetry: General category of the National Best Books 2007 Awards
Winner of the 2009 Whiting Writers’ Award, given by The Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation
Winner of the Silver Medal in the Poetry Category for the Florida Book Awards
“Insouciance and bravura notwithstanding, there is a solitude in this art as deep as any in American poetry since Stevens. . . . Green Squall is a book filled with tardy recognitions and insights. Always we sense, beneath the surface of even the most raucous poems, impending crisis: the terrifying onset of that life long held at a distance. Always bravura is connected to melancholy, fastidious distinctions to wild exuberance, largesse to connoisseurship, self-contempt to uncontrollably erupting hopefulness. Hopler’s dreamy obscurities and rapturous effusions share with his more direct speech a refusal to be groomed into uncommunicative cool: they are encoded, not unintelligible. He writes like someone haunted or stalked; he wants, simultaneously, to hide and to end the anxiety of hiding, to reveal himself (in every sense of the word), to give himself away.”—from the Foreword by Louise Glück
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