Each day leading up to the April 17 announcement of the 22nd Annual Minnesota Book Awards, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today, we feature
I Wish I Had a Heart Like Yours, Walt Whitman
UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME PRESS
An excerpt from the poem “Goats” from I Wish I Had a Heart Like Yours, Walt Whitman:
Down on your knees, you sift through the past
with your father; when he leans in you catch the aftermath
of his shampoo and evergreen show gel and, beneath that,
the deep, familiar combustion of the body-the room
in which we sleep, each one of us, every night of our lives
with the windows closed. Here’s a picture of you in Denmark-
around you, torsos of trees like the long-polished bodies
of brass instruments. How happy you were. And what a shock
to realize you no long remember what such happiness felt like…
In this collection, the poet invokes, invites, and revises Walt Whitman’s civil war poems through contemporary and female perspectives. The poems bridge the gap between past and present, loss and reclamation through passionate lyrics full of clarity, imagination and sureness of vision.
Jude Nutter has received many national and international awards, including a Minnesota Book Award in 2007 for The Curator of Silence, which also won the Ernest Sandeen Prize from the University of Notre Dame. Her poem, “Goats,” was the winner of Sycamore Review’s 2007 Wabash Prize for Poetry, judged by Eavan Boland. In 2004 Jude spent two months in Antarctica as a participant in the National Science Foundation’s Writers and Artists Program. She has been living and working in Minnesota since 1998.
“This book just kept pulling me along. Its narrative is incessant and relentless in describing the horror of war and in the natural world. Her sense of history and of what can repeat itself brings the poems greater power.” – Minnesota Book Awards Judge
“Driven, almost tormented, by her sense of historical events, by what war accomplishes and destroys, Jude Nutter does the poet’s work of resurrection-she mourns and makes real with language some of the enormous losses suffered, and with her exceptional gifts brings some of the lost back to life to be thought of, considered, and remembered by her readers. It matter when such an accomplished poet insists we pay attention and then shows us what to attend to in this extraordinary new collection of poems.” – Deborah Keenan, author of Willow Room, Green Door
"Rarely do I come across a book of poems that reads as though it had to be written. When I do, I’m reminded why I read poems in the first place. We’re after magic and to be in the presence of some great alchemy: poets working in a language so vivid that when read aloud it seems both alien and our own, both the first time spoken and to come from somewhere within us. This is the language with which Jude Nutter works. In her third collection, I Wish I Had a Heart Like Yours, Walt Whitman, this Minnesota Book Award-winning poet illuminates the importance and difficulty of bearing witness.” – Minneapolis Star Tribune
“The poems in Jude Nutter’s I Wish I Had a Heart Like Yours, Walt Whitman consistently and beautifully re-imagine the poem of meditation on the atrocities of war. Nutter invokes, invites and revises Whitman’s civil war poems through thoroughly contemporary and female perspectives. These poems haunt and inspire with a lush expansiveness that slams that old mind/body gap quite closed.” – Leslie Adrienne Miller, author of The Resurrection Trade
Award winners will be announced at the 22nd Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on Saturday, April 17, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, in downtown Saint Paul. The opening reception begins at 6:30 p.m.; followed by the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. Tickets are $40. A limited number remain and are available by clicking here or calling 651-222-3242.
Have you read I Wish I Had a Heart Like Yours, Walt Whitman? What are your thoughts? We welcome your comments!