Standoff has been named winner of the 2017
The PEN/New England Awards recognize outstanding books of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction by New England writers. This year's judges were Roxana Robinson for fiction; Jericho Brown for poetry; and Leah Hager Cohen for nonfiction.
"Exuberant...In his fast-paced, irregular, and superbly assembled free verse, in effusions and snapshots, hot pursuits of teen memories and spiky commitments to adult life, Rivard makes joy and satisfaction aesthetically interesting...Rivard sounds always urbane, unmistakably American."
"James Laughlin Award winner Rivard (Wise Poison) here finds himself in midstream, mediating on 'What’s left?' The feel is not, however, of resignedly looking backward but of thoughtful recalibration. The collection opens, “I miss myself most/ these days with friends” and ends “here we go again, full speed ahead.” In between, in well-crafted, cleanly ringing poems, the poet reflects on his father’s dying, recalls beloved authors, reveals the smarts not to discourage a friend’s enthusiasm, declares 'that a little foolishness/ goes a long, long way, I’d say;/ a lot drops dead/ in its tracks,' and, in the title poem, headily embraces what’s 'baffling, vast, elemental,/ hopeful, & threatening/ as that—but different.' So what’s left? Wise, graceful poems for all readers."
—Library Journal on Standoff
"Rivard's poems move ...with an exhilarating, smart pace of association and evocation. The speed of mind, compressing details and emotions, covering the maximum distance in the least time, gives this writing its thrill....These street-wise, book-wise, eloquent poems have a bracing sureness and scope."
—Robert Pinsky, The Washington Post
"His peculiar intensity and refusal to harbor delusion during a time when other writers of his generation seem more interested in shtick and posturing make his writing seem all the more necessary."
—David Wojahn, The Southern Review