February 8, 2019
The prize recognizes "a book written by a mid-career poet and published in the preceding year that demonstrates exceptional artistry and vision." The committee of judges commended its "poems of such keen attentions and imaginative wit, [in which] the intimation of always another city registers both an awareness of our inevitable diminishment and the possibility of some vaster sphere, some landscape of domes and illuminations, to mitigate our loneliness and loss."
On David Keplinger's poetry:
“Imagine The Inferno reconfigured as a cross between one of Joseph Cornell’s boxes and a Rube Goldberg drawing: an infernal machine designed to produce the uncomfortable pleasures of wit’s disjunctions, gallows humor, wry nostalgias. And imagine that the guide’s voice has not yet outgrown or outworn the point of view, precocious and remarkably well read and almost always surprising, of a stranger in a stranger adult land whose consequences and mortalities can just be held at a distance, sympathetic or amused, as Dante’s mortal vision keeps the damned in their place…What’s consistent is the sustained invention of a tinkerer who takes his materials (so many of them fragile, easily discarded or mislaid) to heart even as he finds his humor, his consolation in the spirited play of their arrangements.”
-The Antioch Review