- Associated Press - Thursday, September 22, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - Poet John Ashbery and bookseller Mitchell Kaplan will receive honorary National Book Awards.

Ashbery is a complex and highly acclaimed poet known for such collections as “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror.” He is this year’s winner of the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. “Self-Portrait,” published in 1975, won the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle award.

Kaplan, whose Books & Books in Florida is among the country’s leading independent stores, has won the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community. Kaplan also co-founded the Miami Book Fair International and is a former president of the American Booksellers Association, a trade group representing independent stores.

The awards were announced Thursday by the National Book Foundation, which sponsors the National Book Awards. Honorary and competitive prizes will be presented at a ceremony Nov. 16 in New York. Actor-author John Lithgow is to serve as host.

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