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The Agha Shahid Ali Prize in Poetry was inaugurated in 2003 to honor the late poet, a nationally recognized writer and a former professor at the University of Utah, and is sponsored by the University of Utah Press and the University of Utah Department of English.
Descartes’ Nightmare is the 2007 prizewinning volume selected by this year’s judge, Cole Swenson, of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
Susan McCabe is an associate professor of English at the University of Southern California. Her other books include Cinematic Modernism: Modernist Poetry and Film; Swirl; and Elizabeth Bishop: Her Poetics of Loss. Her poetry has been published in The Kenyon Review, GLQ, and American Poetry Review.
From Descartes’ Nightmare:
Repeating Thirty Years’ War
At night they thronged around my bed
& chased me while I lay
trying to open the darkness
with my paw-like hands,
the thick curtains of a stage, my bed
a bier; my own soldiers laid me low
Someone held me dear
yet I was choking
“I’d like to live without a thought”
I hushed the war to sleep
& marched and marched until morning
Praise and Reviews:
"A hauntingly unique venture into the mysterious pitfalls of the human psyche."
—The Midwest Book Review