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The Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, 1987

November 08, 1987

The winners of this year's Los Angeles Times Book Prizes write about irreconcilable differences--the difference between Blackfoot and White Man (James Welch), between Anglo and Latino (Paul Horgan), between German and Jew (Robert Jay Lifton), between Life and Non-life (Richard Dawkins), between Male and Female in a writer's mind (Kenneth S. Lynn), between Art and Nature in a painter's career (William Meredith). At the end of each book (even at the end of Horgan's oeuvre), the differences may remain unreconciled, and yet a unity has become imaginable that was unimaginable at the start. When Hazard, a painter, the central character in a sequence of William Meredith's poems, visits the Natural History Museum, Meredith writes:

We descend by chosen cells that are not lost

though they wander off in streams and rivulets.

Not everyone has issue in this creation.

Cousins-german are everywhere in the shale

and marshes under this dry house. In slime, in sperm,

our living cousins grow. A cold harmony this, perhaps, but on a coast, along a fault, near a border, after a stock market crash, a mysteriously satisfying one.

PAUL HORGAN

The Robert Kirsch Award for a body of work by a writer living in or writing on the American West.

Poetry

WILLIAM MEREDITH

Partial Accounts: New and Selected Poems (Alfred A. Knopf)

History

ROBERT JAY LIFTON

The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide (Basic Books)

Current Interest

RICHARD DAWKINS

The Blind Watchmaker (W.W. Norton)

Biography

KENNETH S. LYNN

Hemingway (Simon & Schuster)

Fiction

JAMES WELCH

Fools Crow (Viking)

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