Awards: Poets & Protesters

Not since Euripides was hounded out of Athens for the Hellenic equivalent of sedition have the poets of a nation been so busy on all fronts preaching dissent to national policy. Last week even the cultural coziness of the National Book Awards presentations in Manhattan was chilled by a poet's jeremiad against U.S. involvement in Viet Nam.

Minnesotan Robert Ely, 41, winner of the N.B.A. for his second book of verse, The Light Around the Body, harked back not to Byron or Donne but to celebrated atrocities of the past. "I am uneasy...

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