It's a pleasure to see that Frank Bidart is a finalist for the National Book Award in poetry, for his collection of poems, "Watching the Spring Festival." Professor of English at Wellesley College, where he holds the Andrew W. Mellon professorship, since 1972, Bidart is one of those writers whose personalities are as winning as their writings.
Bidart (at right) was a friend of the poets Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop, and coeditor of Lowell's "Collected Poems." He has been a much-loved friend and mentor to students and writers. His 1997 collection, "Desire," was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, and National Book Award. His 2002 collection, "Music Like Dirt," was also a Pulitzer finalist.
He has won an array of poetry prizes, including Yale's coveted Bollingen Prize in 2007. For him to win this big one outside the world of dedicated poetry prizes would be an it's-about-time event.