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Gansworth's "A Half-Life..." on national book critics' list

The National Book Critics Circle released its Spring 2008 "Good Reads" list last week, and among the familiar names of "A -List" authors on the compilation was that of one relative newcomer.  Eric Gansworth, who is professor of English and the Lowery Writer-in-Residence at Canisius College, is on the shortlist (at # 3, behind Grace Paley and Frank Bidart, but ahead of Marie Howe and Robert Pinsky) of best collections of poetry released so far this year for his A Half-Life of Cardio-Pulmonary Function published by Syracuse University Press.

As we noted in our review of A Half-Life... earlier this year, Gansworth, an enrolled member of the Onondaga Nation who was born and raised on the Tuscarora Indian Nation near Lewiston, is Western New York's most prolific indigenous artist and writer, and an increasingly prominent voice on the national scene.  He received PEN-Oakland's Josephine Miles Award for his 2006 novel Mending Skins, and with this current citation--which is derived from internal polling of a panel comprised of this country's leading authors and book critics--will likely be in contention for several national awards at year's end.

Just to illustrate, last Winter's NBCC "Good Reads" list included the eventual winners of the Pulitzer Prize and/or the National Book Awards in all three major categories: fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

The NBCC Good Reads List was created in fall 2007 as an alternative to the many best sellers lists available, instead offering books being avidly read and discussed by America’s leading critics and the world’s most celebrated writers. “This is a freeze frame on book culture today, what critics and authors have been impressed by at this point in the year,” says NBCC president Jane Ciabattari.   

In additional to Gansworth and the others named on the poetry shortlist, Richard Price, Jhumpa Lahari, Steven Millhauser, Charles Baxter, Peter Carey, and  J. M. Coetzee (tied) are shortlisted in fiction, while Nicholson Baker, Drew Gilpin Faust, and Susan Jacoby are among the picks in non-fiction.

To view the NBCC Good Reads List in its entirety, and to learn more about how it is compiled, visit 
CRITICAL MASS: The National Book Critics Circle Announces the Spring 2008 NBCC Good Reads List.

--R.D. Pohl

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