Congratulations are in order for Tracy K. Smith, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Her winning book, Life on Mars, appeals to the seasoned reader of contemporary poetry and to those who might be more familiar with the lyrics of David Bowie than those of Nikki Giovanni. Smith is the fifth African American poet to receive this prestigious award, and to make it even sweeter, she received the honor on her 40th birthday.
Meanwhile, the Pulitzer for fiction goes to… no one. In an unusual turn of events, the judges and jurors decided not to pick a finalist for the award. The three books that almost made the cut, David Foster Wallace’s Pale King, Karen Russell’s Swamplandia!, and Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams, are therefore in a state of limbo, in a sense: each reader can peruse the three and decide for him- or herself which deserved the title (if any).
Who do you think should have picked up this year’s fiction medal?