January Machine by Rob Schlegel is the winner of the 2014 Grub Street Poetry Prize, selected by Stephen Burt. He receives a $5000.00 award from Grub Street and will be scheduled to read and give a class in Boston (TBA). Congratulations.
A Stahlecker Series Selection
January Machine is a book-length poem comprised of sonnets and sonnet sequences interrupted by static.
Rooted in the modern American moment, this poem seeks to understand the intersection of Whitman’s
plurality and Oppen’s “shipwreck of the singular.” In the midst of geographic dislocation, the lyric “I”
becomes a place; “I am the I undone, immersed / in perspective,” Schlegel writes. “I am an American sigh,
a limit / of language, a limit of privilege, / in this excess, a thousand exits.”
From January Machine:
Around those whose agendas are national, I need to know what national is. Its use seems limited to the human condition, but its condition seems fueled by privilege. Providing a continent with names--historical,formal, or otherwise--gives it boundaries, but it's the size of the country that overwhelms me. In each moment of silence a new consciousness. I want again that feeling of being engaged in the world--into language I am putting back my body.