Congratulations to Carlos Lara, 2018 Nightboat Poetry Prize Winner! Here is Kazim Ali’s full editorial citation for Lara’s Like Bismuth When I Enter:
Carlos Lara’s Like Bismuth When I Enter enters the space of ritual, incantation and
trance with a stunning assemblage of images and structures. No line forgets itself
because each announces itself past traditional language structures and usages so
urgently that one is compelled to pay the most focused attention. One often cites a
book’s excellence by saying it bears or invites or rewards rereading and in this case
each of these different verbal approaches is true—and the text reads you right back.
While reading this book I found myself needing to recite, to truly experience the
shifts in perception that accompanied such a bold and surprising abandonment of
the familiar. Phrases, sentences, lines, and fragments scintillate and spark with
multiple realities. Lara has risked a great deal to transcend sense and form as we
understand it to make a remarkably fresh and majestic book. I feel returned to the
primordial, the preclassical, the prelingual. I feel like I am hearing for the first time.
Stein wanted to make words new; Lara has picked up the mission and carried it far.
–Kazim Ali, February 2019.