2011 Featured Presenters
Jhumpa Lahiri received the Pulitzer Prize in 2000 for Interpreter of Maladies, her debut story collection that explores issues of love and identity among immigrants and cultural transplants. With a compelling, universal fluency, Lahiri portrays the practical and emotional adversities of her diverse characters in elegant and direct prose. Whether describing hardships of a lonely Indian wife adapting to life in the United States or illuminating the secret pain of a young couple as they discuss their betrayals during a series of electrical blackouts, Lahiri's bittersweet stories avoid sentimentality without abandoning compassion.
Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel The Namesake was published in the fall of 2003 to great acclaim.The Namesake expands on the perplexities of the immigrant experience and the search for identity. The narrative follows the Gangulis, an Indian couple united in an arranged marriage, as they build their lives together in America. Unlike her husband, Mrs. Ganguli defies assimilation, while their son, Gogol, burdened with the seemingly absurd name of the long-dead Russian writer, awkwardly struggles to define himself. A film version of The Namesake (directed by Mira Nair) was released in 2007. Lahiri’s most recent book of short stories, entitled Unaccustomed Earth, received the 2008 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award (the world’s largest prize for a short story collection). She has contributed the essay on Rhode Island in the 2008 book State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America.
Born in London, Lahiri moved to Rhode Island as a young child with her Bengali parents. Although they have lived in the United States for more than thirty years, Lahiri observes that her parents retain "a sense of emotional exile" and Lahiri herself grew up with "conflicting expectations…to be Indian by Indians and American by Americans." Lahiri's abilities to convey the oldest cultural conflicts in the most immediate fashion and to achieve the voices of many different characters are among the unique qualities that have captured the attention of a wide audience.
Alongside the Pulitzer Prize, Jhumpa Lahiri also won the PEN/Hemingway Award, an O. Henry Prize (for the short story “Interpreter of Maladies”), and the Addison Metcalf Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, among others. Lahiri was also granted a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002 and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 2006. In 2009 she was awarded the Vallombrosa Von Rezzori Prize and the Asian American Literary Award for Fiction (for Unaccustomed Earth).
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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Chimamanda Adichie is a Nigerian born author who holds a Masters in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins and a Masters in African Studies from Yale. She is also the recipient of a 2008 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. She divides her time between the United States and Nigeria, where she leads a creative writers’ workshop. Her award-winning books of fiction include: Half of a Yellow Sun, winner of the Orange Broadband Prize and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award); Purple Hibiscus, winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, shortlisted for the Orange Prize and John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, and long-listed for the Booker Prize; and The Thing Around Your Neck, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. Adichie contributes frequently to publications including Granta, The New Yorker, The Guardian, and others. Her work has been translated into thirty languages.
Sandra Alcosser’s books of poetry include Except by Nature and A Fish to Feed All Hunger. She is Professor of Creative Writing at San Diego State University and has been poet in residence at Glacier National Park and the Central Park Zoo. She is the lead poet on Poets House’s “Language of Conservation” and served as the Montana Poet Laureate from 2005 to 2007.
Rae Armantrout’s eleventh book of poetry is Money Shot. Her previous books include Versed (recipient of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award, and a finalist for the National Book Award); Next Life; Up to Speed; and Veil: New and Selected Poems. Her collected prose was published in 2007. Armantrout earned her A.B. at UC.
Adrian Blevins’s The Brass Girl Brouhaha won the 2004 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Blevins is also the recipient of a 2004 Rona Jaffe Writer’s Foundation Award and the Lamar York Prize for Nonfiction. A new book, Live from the Homesick Jamboree, is just out from Wesleyan. Blevins teaches at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.
Eavan Boland’s recent books of poetry include New Collected Poems, Domestic Violence, and Against Love Poetry. She is also the author of Object Lessons: The Life of the Woman and the Poet in Our Time, a volume of prose. A new volume of prose, A Journey with Two Maps, will be published by Carcanet Press and WW Norton in 2011. Boland is the Bella Mabury and Eloise Mabury Knapp Professor in Humanities at Stanford University and Melvin and Bill Lane Professor for Director of the Creative Writing Program.
Brian Brodeur is the author of Other Latitudes, winner of the University of Akron Press's 2007 Akron Poetry Prize. Recent poems appear in Gettysburg Review, Margie, The Missouri Review, River Styx, Verse Daily, and Many Mountains Moving. He lives and works in Fairfax, VA and maintains the blog “How a Poem Happens.”
Derrick Weston Brown
Derrick Weston Brown holds an MFA in Creative Writing from American University. He has studied poetry under Dr. Tony Medina at Howard University and Cornelius Eady at American University. In 2006 he released his first chapbook of poetry entitled The Unscene and is currently shopping his full-length manuscript entitled Wisdom Teeth. He is a native of Charlotte, North Carolina and currently resides in Mount Rainier, Maryland. He also teaches an amazing group of 6th and 7th graders poetry and Creative Writing at Hart Middle School in S.E. Washington D.C. He is the Poet-In-Residence at Busboys and Poets bookstore and restaurant.
Jericho Brown worked as the speechwriter for the Mayor of New Orleans before receiving his PhD in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Houston. He also holds an MFA from the University of New Orleans and a BA from Dillard University. The recipient of the Whiting Writers Award, the Bunting Fellowship from the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University, and two travel fellowships to the Krakow Poetry Seminar in Poland, Brown teaches creative writing as an Assistant Professor of English at the University of San Diego. His poems have appeared in The Iowa Review, jubilat, New England Review, Oxford American, A Public Space, and several other journals and anthologies. His first book, PLEASE, won the American Book Award.
Sarah Browning is director of Split This Rock Poetry Festival and DC Poets Against the War. Author of Whiskey in the Garden of Eden and co-editor of D.C. Poets Against the War: An Anthology, she has received fellowships and prizes from the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, the Creative Communities Initiative, and the People Before Profits Poetry Prize.
Joseph Bruchac has published more than 100 books of poetry, novels, and short stories for adults and children. Of Abenaki, English, and Slovak ethnicity, he lives with his wife in the Adirondack mountain foothills of New York. Among his works are the novel Dawn Land and its sequel, Long River, as well as the poetry collections Above the Line and Translator's Son.
Rosanne Cash, the eldest child of Johnny Cash and his first wife, Vivian Liberto, was born in Memphis, Tennessee on May 24, 1955. After her parents separated she and her three sisters grew up in California. At 18, she joined The Johnny Cash Show, further absorbing his influence along with that of his legendary touring show partners Carl Perkins and the Carter Family. The Carter Family's June Carter later became Rosanne's stepmother when she married Cash in 1968. Rosanne went on to study drama at Nashville's Vanderbilt University and at the Lee Strasberg Institute in Los Angeles before focusing on her music. In the 30 years since, she has released 12 albums including Right or Wrong, Seven Year Ache, Somewhere in the Stars, Rhythm and Romance, King's Record Shop, Interiors, The Wheel, 10 Song Demo, Rules of Travel, Black Cadillac, and most recently, The List. She has also recorded 11 No. 1 singles, blurring the genres of country, rock, roots and pop. In 1985 she won the Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance, Female, for her hit "I Don't Know Why You Don't Want Me," and has received nine other nominations. Her highly personal— yet universally appealing—writing style is also manifest in her parallel prose career. Rosanne published a collection of short stories, Bodies of Water, and a children's book, Penelope Jane: A Fairy's Tale. Composed, her long-awaited memoir, was published in 2010. Additionally, her essays and fiction have appeared in various collections and publications, including The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Time Magazine, The Oxford American and New York Magazine. The mother of five children, Cash lives in New York City with her husband, producer, and guitarist, John Leventhal, and her youngest child.
Sandra Cisneros is the founder of the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation and the Macondo Foundation; both work on behalf of creative writers. She is the author of My Wicked Wicked Ways, The House on Mango Street, Hairs/Pelitos, Woman Hollering Creek, Loose Woman, Caramelo, and Vintage Cisneros Her work is available in Spanish in translations by Elena Poniatowska and Liliana Valenzuela. She is currently at work on several writing projects including Have You Seen Marie?, Writing in My Pajamas, Tango for Tongolele, and Infinito. She makes her home in San Antonio, Texas, where she is writer in residence at Our Lady of the Lake University.
Alison Hawthorne Deming
Alison Hawthorne Deming is the author of six books of poetry, including Science and Other Poems, The Monarchs: A Poem Sequence, and Rope, as well as three collections of essays. She is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Arizona as well as the former director of the UA Poetry Center.
Toi Derricotte, professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh and the co-founder of the Cave Canem Foundation, is the author of a memoir, The Black Notebooks, which received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the Black Caucus of the American Library Association Award in nonfiction, and was nominated for the PEN Martha Albrand Award for the Art of the Memoir. It was also a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. She has four books of poetry: Tender; Captivity; Natural Birth; and Empress of the Death House. She has received numerous awards, including a fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation (2006), the Guggenheim Foundation (2004), two fellowships in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts (1985 and 1990), and two Pushcart Prizes (1989 and 1998). She is working on a new book of poetry, The Undertaker’s Daughter.
Junot Díaz was born in 1968 in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey. He is the author of Drown and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and the 2008 Pulitzer Prize. Díaz has been awarded the Eugene McDermott Award, a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, a Lila Acheson Wallace Reader's Digest Award, the 2002 PEN/Malamud Award, the 2003 U.S./Japan Creative Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is the fiction editor at the Boston Review and the Rudge (1948), and Nancy Allen Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Mark Doty's Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems, won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2008. His eight books of poems include School of the Arts, Source, and My Alexandria. He has also published five volumes of nonfiction prose. He teaches at Rutgers University.
Rita Dove, Poet Laureate of the United States from 1993 to 1995, has received numerous literary and academic honors, among them the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and, more recently, the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal and the Premio Capri (both in 2009), the 2008 Library of Virginia Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2007 Chubb Fellowship at Yale University, the 2006 Common Wealth Award of Distinguished Service, the 2001 Duke Ellington Lifetime Achievement Award, the New York Public Library's Library Lion medal in 2000 (as well as its "Literary Lion" medal in 1990), the 1996 Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities, the 1996 National Humanities Medal, Glamour Magazine's 1993 Woman of the Year award and 21 honorary doctorates. Rita Dove was born in Akron, Ohio in 1952; her father was the first African-American research chemist who, shortly after her birth, broke the race barrier in the tire industry. A 1970 Presidential Scholar as one of the 100 top high school graduates in the U.S. that year, she received her B.A. summa cum laude from Miami University of Ohio in 1973 and her M.F.A. from the University of Iowa in 1977. In 1974/75 she held a Fulbright scholarship at Universität Tübingen in Germany. Rita Dove's publications include the poetry collections The Yellow House on the Corner (1980), Museum (1983), Thomas and Beulah (1986), Grace Notes (1989), Selected Poems (1993), Mother Love (1995), On the Bus with Rosa Parks (1999), American Smooth (2004) and Sonata Mulattica (2009), a book of short stories, Fifth Sunday (1985), the novel Through the Ivory Gate (1992), essays under the title The Poet's World (1995), and the play The Darker Face of the Earth, which had its world premiere at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 1996 and was subsequently produced at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Royal National Theatre in London, and on many other stages. Seven for Luck, a song cycle for soprano and orchestra with music by John Williams, was premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood in 1998. For “America's Millennium”, the White House's 1999/2000 New Year's celebration, Ms. Dove contributed – in a live reading at the Lincoln Memorial, accompanied by John Williams's music and televised worldwide – a poem to Steven Spielberg's documentary The Unfinished Journey. She is the editor of Best American Poetry 2000, and from 2000 to 2002 she wrote a weekly column, “Poet's Choice”, for The Washington Post. Currently she is shaping, as its sole editor, the forthcoming Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry. Rita Dove was president of AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs) from 1986-87 and a senator of Phi Beta Kappa from 1994-2000. From 2006 to 2012, she serves a six year term as a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.Rita Dove, who taught at Tuskegee Institute and Arizona State University earlier in her academic carrier, is Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she and her husband, the German writer Fred Viebahn, have been living since 1989. They have a grown daughter, Aviva Dove-Viebahn.
Stephen Dunn is the author of fifteen collections of poetry, including What Goes On: Selected & New Poems 1995-2009. Different Hours won the Pulitzer Prize in 2001, and Loosestrife was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist in 1996. His other W.W. Norton books are New & Selected Poems: 1974-1994, Landscape at the End of the Century, Between Angels, and Riffs & Reciprocities: Prose Pairs. Norton will publish a new collection of his poems, Here and Now, in June 2011. Local Time was a winner of The National Poetry Series in 1986. A new and expanded edition of Walking Light: Memoirs and Essays on Poetry was issued by BOA Editions, Ltd. in 2001. Dunn’s awards include: Academy Award in Literature from The American Academy of Arts & Letters; The Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement; Fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations; three NEA Creative Writing Fellowships; a Distinguished Artist Fellowship from the NJ State Council on the Arts; the Levinson and Oscar Blumenthal Prizes from Poetry; the Theodore Roethke Prize from Poetry Northwest; the James Wright Prize from Mid-American Review; and many others. He is Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, but spends most of his time these days in Frostburg, Maryland where he lives with his wife, the writer Barbara Hurd.
Jennifer Egan is a novelist, journalist, and short story writer. Her five books of fiction are wildly diverse, a fact that led Madison Smartt Bell to call her “a refreshingly unclassifiable novelist” in his review of her novel, The Keep, for the New York Times Book Review. The Keep was a National Bestseller and a New York Times Notable Book for 2006, and on the “Best Books” lists of the Chicago Tribune and the San Francisco Chronicle. Egan’s other books are Look at Me, a finalist for the National Book Award in 2001; The Invisible Circus, which became a movie starring Cameron Diaz; and Emerald City and Other Stories. She has published short fiction in The New Yorker, Harper's, Zoetrope, and Ploughshares, among others. Egan's newest book of fiction, A Visit From The Goon Squad, was released in 2010.
Martín Espada’s collection of poems, The Republic of Poetry received a Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His next collection, The Trouble Ball, is forthcoming from Norton in spring 2011. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and the National Hispanic Cultural Center Literary Award, Espada teaches at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
Joshua Ferris's first novel, Then We Came to the End, won the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, the Barnes and Noble Discover Award, and was a National Book Award finalist. Ferris is currently adapting Then We Came to the End for Focus Features. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, The Guardian, Tin House, New Stories From the South, and Best New American Voices. Ferris was included in The New Yorker’s 2010“20 Under 40” list of fiction writers worth watching. His second novel, The Unnamed, came out in 2010. Ferris graduated from the University of Iowa and received his MFA from the University of California, Irvine. He lives in New York.
Thalia Field was born in Chicago in 1966. She attended a lycée in France and worked at the Theatre des Amandiers in Nanterre and at the Theatre Nationale de Marseilles. She graduated with honors in creative writing from Brown University, winning the first John Hawkes prize in fiction.Two years ago she appeared with Suzan-Lori Parks at the Brooklyn Academy of Music dialogues series on poetry and theater, curated by Mac Wellman. Her teaching includes: Teachers & Writers Collaborative, Theater for a New Audience and the Institute for Writing and Thinking at Bard. She has taught creative writing as a visiting professor at Brown, Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, and is presently on the faculty at Brown University, Providence, RI. Her most recent work, Bird Lovers, Backyard, was published by New Directions in April 2010.
Carolyn Forché, known as a “poet of witness,” is the author of four books of poetry. Her first poetry collection, Gathering The Tribes, won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. In 1977, she traveled to Spain to translate the work of Salvadoran-exiled poet Claribel Alegría, and upon her return, received a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, which enabled her to travel to El Salvador, where she worked as a human rights advocate. Her second book, The Country Between Us, received the Poetry Society of America's Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, and was also the Lamont Selection of the Academy of American Poets. In 1994, her third book of poetry, The Angel of History, was chosen for The Los Angeles Times Book Award. HarperCollins published her fourth book of poems, Blue Hour, in Spring 2003. Carolyn Forché is Lannan Visiting Professor of Poetry and Professor of English at Georgetown University, and lives in Maryland with her husband, photographer Harry Mattison, and their son, Sean-Christophe.
Richard Ford was born in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1944. He is the author of nine books of fiction, including Independence Day, The Lay of the Land, Rock Springs: Stories, and A Multitude of Sins -- as well as many essays. His books have been translated into twenty-five languages. He is a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, The PEN-Faulkner Award, and twice the Order of Arts and Letters from The Republic of France. He lives in Maine and in New Orleans.
Mary Gaitskill was born in 1954 in Lexington, Kentucky. She is the author of the novels, Two Girls, Fat and Thin; and Veronica, which was nominated for the 2005 National Book Award, National Critic’s Circle Award, and L.A. Times Book Award. She is the author of the story collections Bad Behavior and Because They Wanted To, which was nominated for the PEN/Faulkner in 1998. Gaitskill’s stories and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Esquire, Best American Short Stories and The O. Henry Prize Stories. In 2002 she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for fiction. She has taught at U-C Berkeley, the University of Houston, New York University, Brown and Syracuse University. Her newest collection of stories is titled Don’t Cry.
Forrest Gander was born in 1956 in the Mojave Desert in Barstow, CA and grew up, for the most part, in Virginia. Trenchant periods of his life were spent in San Francisco, Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico, and Eureka Springs, Arkansas. With degrees in geology and English literature, he has taught at Providence College, Harvard University, and The University of Iowa. Currently, he is the Adele Kellenberg Seaver Professor of Literary Arts and Comparative Literatures at Brown University in Rhode Island. The author of numerous books of poetry, translation, and essays, Gander has received many awards including The Whiting Award for Writers, National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, two Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative North American Writing, a Pushcart Prize, and the Jessica Nobel Maxwell Memorial Prize from American Poetry Review, a Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the Howard Foundation fellowship. Including his first novel, As a Friend, New Directions publishes four titles by Forrest Gander. New Directions will publish a new collection of poems, Core Samples from the World, in April 2010.
John Wesley Harding
John Wesley Harding has released 15 albums, ranging from traditional folk to full on pop music. His most recent pop release Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead, recorded with The Minus Five, was a critical smash, garnering considerable airplay. Harding has been joined onstage by Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, John Prine, Bruce Springsteen (with whom he recorded a duet on his album Awake), Joan Baez, Peter Buck, Evan Dando, David Baddiel, Rick Moody, Tanya Donelly, Josh Ritter, Rosanne Cash, Colin Meloy, Scott MacCaughey, and Robyn Hitchcock, among others. He has appeared on “Late Night with Conan O'Brien,” “The Late Show with David Letterman,” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” His songs have been featured in films (including High Fidelity) and covered by other artists. His most recent record was "Songs of Misfortune," a (mostly) a capella recording by The Love Hall Tryst, featuring the ballads from his first novel, Misfortune. The recently released DVD, A Bloody Show, documents an epic show filmed at Bumbershoot in Seattle, featuring songs from Misfortune, on which JWH is accompanied by a rock band, a string quartet and The Love Hall Tryst, and readings from the novel. His series of "Cabinet of Wonders" variety shows in Spring 2009 in New York City at Le Poisson Rouge included appearances by Rosanne Cash, Graham Parker, Josh Ritter and more. His first novel, Misfortune, under his real name, Wesley Stace, was published to great acclaim in 2005. It was nominated for The Guardian First Book Award, The Commonwealth Writers' Prize, The James Tiptree, Jr. Award, listed as one of the books of the year in The Washington Post and The Boston Phoenix, and was one of Amazon's Top Ten Novels of the Year. Misfortune has been optioned, and the script has been finished. His second novel, By George, was published in August 2007; it was one of the New York Public Library's Books To Remember of 2007, and Booklist Editor's Choice for books of the year. He has recently completed his third, Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer (to be published by Jonathan Cape in the UK in September 2010). Harding is currently artist-in-residence at Fairleigh Dickinson University, NJ, where he curates the Words & Music Festival.
Amy Hempel, a recipient of awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the United States Artists Foundation and the Academy of Arts and Letters, is the author of four collections of stories: Reasons to Live, At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom, Tumble Home, and The Dog of the Marriage. Her Collected Stories, published in 2007, was named one of the ten best books of the year by the New York Times, and won the Ambassador Book Award for best fiction of the year. In 2008 she won the REA Award for the Short Story, and in 2009 she received the PEN/Malamud Award. Her work has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and in The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction. She teaches writing at Harvard University and Bennington College.
Juan Felipe Herrera
Juan Felipe Herrera’s poetry was sparked by his parent’s farm-worker corridos and flourished in the civil rights movement of the ‘60s. In additional to his twenty-eight books, Herrera’s recent books areHalf of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems, a New York Times best books of 2008, 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry 2009, 2009 PEN Beyond Margins Award, Latino International Award in Poetry, PEN Beyond Margins Award 2009; and 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross the Border: Undocuments, which won the 2008 Pen National Poetry Award and the 2008 Pen/Oakland Josephine Miles National Poetry Award. His forthcoming book for young adults is Skate Fate. Guggenheim Fellowship 2010 winner, Herrera is the Tomás Rivera Endowed Chair in the Department of Creative Writing at UC-Riverside. In 2004, his children’s book, The Upside Down Boy, became a musical in New York City for young audiences and in 2008, he wrote the lyrics and libretto for another children’s musical – Salsalandia (La Jolla Playhouse).
Kristin Hersh founded her influential art-punk band, Throwing Muses, at age 14. She went on to spend the next 25 years confounding expectations and breaking rules–both her own and others'. From life as the reluctant front person for the Muses, to the solo career she swore never would happen, through the founding of an ambitious and altruistic non-profit, and in her most recent foray into a surprisingly successful new career as an author, Hersh, like so many of us, didn't see much of this coming. Hersh's solo mostly-acoustic career spun off in 1994 and has lived in parallel to the Muses and 50FootWave. Her first solo release, Hips and Makers, was widely acclaimed and achieved her best sales numbers to date. Of course, the fact that it included "Your Ghost" –a duet with REM's Michael Stipe–made it a bit easier for the masses to get their heads around. Since Hips, Hersh has released a steady stream of solid and distinctly individual solo albums. Her latest release, 2010's Crooked, is an entirely listener-funded recording, written and demoed in public and in full conversation with the audience meant to consume it. Crooked was conceived in 2007, when Hersh co-founded the non-profit Coalition of Artists and Stake-Holders (CASH Music), originally for the purposes of experimenting with alternative economic models for artists. Over the past few years, CASH has not only completely funded Hersh's own output, but has also powered dozens of other artist and label projects and has grown into a widely-recognized powerhouse of technical tools that enable commerce, communication and sustainability for artists–all in the open source and free of charge. Hersh began her writing career several years ago, while living in Portland, OR. Beginning with essays and tour diaries which she published on her own website, and as a guest blogger on Powells.com, it soon became apparent that Hersh possessed as unique a voice as a writer as the one she was known for as a singer. Friends in the Portland literary scene encouraged her to begin writing in earnest, which she most certainly did. Over the next 3 years, waking at 1 or 2 in the morning and writing until dawn, Hersh pieced together a book based on her teenage diary entries from 1985 and '86, a period during which the teenage Hersh lived in her car, crashed on friends' floors and in empty apartments, unable to sleep for hearing the strange songs for which she is now known.
Bob Hicok is an associate professor of English at Virginia Tech. Prior to teaching, Hicok worked for nearly two decades as an automotive die designer and eventually owned his own business. This Clumsy Living was awarded the Bobbitt Prize from the Library of Congress, Animal Soul was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and The Legend of Light received the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry and was named a 1997 ALA Booklist Notable Book of the Year. A recipient of five Pushcart Prizes, Guggenheim and two NEA Fellowships, Hicok’s poetry has been selected for inclusion in six volumes of Best American Poetry. He is also the recipient of the Jerome J. Shestack Poetry Prize from The American Poetry Review and the Anne Halley Prize from The Massachusetts Review.
Marie Howe is the author of three volumes of poetry (The Kingdom of Ordinary Time, The Good Thief, and What the Living Do) and is the co-editor of a book of essays, In the Company of My Solitude: American Writing from the AIDS Pandemic. Stanley Kunitz selected Howe for a Lavan Younger Poets Prize from the American Academy of Poets. Additionally, she has been a fellow at the Bunting Institute at Radcliffe College and a recipient of NEA and Guggenheim fellowships. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Poetry, Agni, Ploughshares, Harvard Review, and The Partisan Review, among others. Currently, Howe teaches creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College, Columbia, and New York University.
Susan Howe was born in Boston, on June 10, 1937 and grew up in Cambridge, MA. Her father was a professor at the Harvard Law School and spent nearly all of his life around Boston and Cape Cod. Her mother is Irish and has been an actress, novelist, and playwright in Ireland and America. Howe went to the Buckingham School and graduated from the Beaver Country Day School in Cambridge, MA, in 1955. She then went to Dublin, Ireland, where she lived for a year as an apprentice at the Gate Theatre and assistant stage designer while also acting small parts in plays. She was a member of Irish Actors Equity. On returning to the U.S., she went to the Boston Museum School from 1957-61. Afterward, she lived in New York City and during that time she shifted from conceptual painting to poetry. In 1972 she moved to Guilford, CT where her husband, David von Schlegell, was director of the sculpture department at Yale. She lived there until the fall of 1991 when she was made a full, and later a distinguished, professor of English at SUNY Buffalo. Although she and her husband spent winters in Buffalo, they still considered themselves residents of Connecticut and spent the summers in their house there. Her work as a poet is profoundly tied to Connecticut, to the landscape around Long Island Sound, to the history of the area, to Sterling Library at Yale University, to the Atlantic Ocean around Massachusetts and to New England in general. Susan Howe is a two-time winner of the Before Columbus Foundation Book award for Secret History of the Dividing Line, poetry; and My Emily Dickinson, a critical study of Emily Dickinson's poetry. A collection of poems, That This, is forthcoming by New Directions in the spring.
Gary Jackson was born and raised in Topeka, Kansas. He is the winner of the 2009 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, judged by Yusef Komunyakaa. He received his MFA in Poetry from the University of New Mexico in 2008. Mr. Jackson’s poems have appeared in Inscape, Magma, The Literary Bohemian and local chapbooks. He currently teaches English as a Second Language in Seoul, South Korea.
Edward P. Jones
Edward P. Jones is author of The Known World (National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction, Pulitzer in Fiction) and the short story collections Lost in the City (PEN/Hemingway award) and All Aunt Hagar's Children. He also is a recipient of a MacArthur "genius" grant and the PEN/Malamud award. He lives in Washington, D.C.
Yusef Komunyakaa is the critically acclaimed author of 13 books of poetry, including Taboo: The Wishbone Trilogy, Part 1; Copacetic; Dien Cai Dau; Neon Vernacular: New & Selected Poems 1977-1989, winner of the Pulitzer Prize; Talking Dirty to the Gods; and Pleasure Dome: New and Collected Poems. His latest book of poems, Warhorses, was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2008. His prose is collected in Blues Notes: Essays, Interviews & Commentaries, and he co-edited The Jazz Poetry Anthology (with J. A. Sascha Feinstein). Komunyakaa co-translated The Insomnia of Fire, by Nguyen Quang Thieu (with Martha Collins), and has written dramatic works, including Gilgamesh: A Verse Play, as well as librettos. His additional honors include the 2004 Shelley Memorial Award, the 2001 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Hanes Poetry Prize, and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. He was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2009. He is a Cave Canem faculty member and Professor and Distinguished Senior Poet at New York University.
Dorianne Laux’s fourth book of poems, Facts about the Moon, is the recipient of the Oregon Book Award. Laux is also author of Awake; What We Carry, finalist for the National Book Critic’s Circle Award; and Smoke. Her fifth collection, The Book of Men, will be published by W.W. Norton in February, 2011.
Lorraine M. López is associate editor of the Afro-Hispanic Review. Her short story collection, Soy la Avon Lady and Other Stories, won the inaugural Miguel Marmól Prize. Her second book, Call Me Henri, was awarded the Paterson Prize for Young Adult Literature, and her novel, The Gifted Gabaldón Sisters, was a 2008 Borders/Las Comadres Selection. López’s short story collection, Homicide Survivors Picnic and Other Stories, was a Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Prize in Fiction in 2010. She has also edited a collection of essays titled, An Angle of Vision: Women Writers on Their Poor or Working-Class Roots. Her forthcoming works include a novel, The Realm of Hungry Spirits and a collection of essays, The Other Latin@, co-edited with Blas Falconer, both of which will be released in 2011.
Carole Maso is the author of ten books including the novels AVA, Defiance and The Art Lover; prose poems, Aureole and Beauty is Convulsive; a book of essays, Break Every Rule; and a memoir, The Room Lit by Roses. She teaches at Brown University.
Rick Moody's first novel, Garden State, was the winner of the 1991 Editor's Choice Award from the Pushcart Press and was published in 1992. The Ice Storm has been published in twenty countries, and Fox Searchlight released a film version, directed by Ang Lee, in 1997. Little, Brown & Co. recently released his newest book of fiction, The Four Fingers of Death. Right Livelihoods, a book of three novellas, was published in 2007. Other novels include The Diviners and Purple America, published in April 1997, for which foreign editions have appeared widely. Little, Brown & Co. also published a collection of short fiction, The Ring of Brightest Angels Around Heaven, in August 1995. The title story was the winner of the 1994 Aga Khan Award from The Paris Review. An anthology, edited with Darcey Steinke, Joyful Noise: The New Testament Revisited, also appeared in November 1997.
Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the author of the prize-winning poetry collections, Miracle Fruit and At the Drive-In Volcano and the forthcoming Lucky Fish, all from Tupelo Press. Other awards for her writing include an NEA Fellowship in poetry and the Pushcart Prize. She is Associate Professor of English at State University of New York-Fredonia, where she received the Hagan Award and the SUNY-wide Chancellor's Medal.
Mark Nowak, a 2010 Guggenheim fellow, is the author of Coal Mountain Elementary and Shut Up Shut Down. For the past several years he has been designing and facilitating “poetry dialogues” with Ford autoworkers in the United States and South Africa (through the UAW and NUMSA), striking clerical workers (through AFSCME 3800), Muslim/Somali nurses and healthcare workers (through Rufaidah), and others. Nowak’s writings on new labor poetics have recently appeared in Goth: Undead Subculture, American Poets in the 21st Century: The New Poetics, The Progressive, and elsewhere. A native of Buffalo, New York, Nowak currently works as Director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. He blogs at Coal Mountain.
Joyce Carol Oates
Joyce Carol Oates is one of the most prolific and celebrated American authors. Among her many accolades is the National Book Award, the PEN/Malamud Award for excellence in short fiction, the Commonwealth Award for Distinguished Service in Literature, and three books that have been short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize. Currently, she is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University. Oates co-founded, and co-edited for thirty-four years, the Ontario Review with her husband, the late Raymond J. Smith. Often compared in their impact on arts and ideas to Virginia and Leonard Woolf, Joyce and Ray became one of the most distinguished literary couples in the nation, known especially for their advocacy of new and emerging writers, and for helping to renew the careers of more established authors. No writer in America has been more generous to other writers.
Gregory Orr, considered by many to be a master of short, lyric free verse, is the author of ten collections of poetry. His most recent volumes include How Beautiful The Beloved, published in 2009 by Copper Canyon, and Concerning the Book that is the Body of the Beloved, published in 2005, also by Copper Canyon. His memoir, The Blessing, was chosen by Publisher’s Weekly as one of the fifty best non-fiction books of 2002. He has received many awards and fellowships, including an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, two NEA Fellowships, and a Rockefeller Fellowship at the Institute for the Study of Culture and Violence. He teaches at the University of Virginia, where he founded the MFA Program in Writing in 1975, and served from 1978 to 2003 as Poetry Editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review.
Eric Pankey, the Heritage Chair in Writing at George Mason University, is the author of eight collections of poetry, including The Pear as One Example: New and Selected Poems 1984-2008.
Benjamin Percy is the author of a novel, The Wilding (forthcoming in the fall of 2010), and two books of stories, Refresh, Refresh and The Language of Elk. His fiction and nonfiction have been read on National Public Radio, performed at Symphony Space, and published by Esquire, Men's Journal, Outside, the Paris Review, Tin House, Chicago Tribune, Orion, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and many other magazines and journals. His honors include a Whiting Award, the Plimpton Prize, a Pushcart Prize, and inclusion in Best American Short Stories. His story "Refresh, Refresh" was adapted into a screenplay by filmmaker James Ponsoldt and a graphic novel by Eisner-nominated artist Danica Novgorodoff. He teaches in the MFA program in creative writing and environment at Iowa State University.
Jayne Anne Phillips
Jayne Anne Phillips, a 2009 National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Finalist, is the author of two story collections, Black Tickets and Fast Lanes, and four novels, Machine Dreams, Shelter, MotherKind, and Lark & Termite. Recipient of NEA, Guggenheim, Howard Foundation, and Bunting Institute Fellowships, she is Professor of English at Rutgers Newark University and directs the Rutgers Newark MFA Program.
Claudia Rankine is the author of four collections of poetry, including Don’t Let Me Be Lonely, and the plays, Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue, commissioned bytheFoundry Theatre and Existing Conditions (co-authored with Casey Llewellyn). She is also co-editor of American Women Poets in the Twenty-First Century & American Poets in the Twenty-First Century: The New Poetics. A recipient of fellowships from the Academy of American Poetry, the National Endowments for the Arts, and the Lannan Foundation, she teaches at Pomona College.
Josh Ritter, an American musician, whose style has been compared to Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Bruce Springsteen, has released several albums since his first self-titled debut in 1999. Ritter also has interests in writing and has claimed Flannery O'Connor, Philip Roth, and Dennis Lehane as influences on both his songwriting and fiction work. Bright's Passage, Ritter's novel, is due to be published in 2011 by Dial Press.
Pattiann Rogers is the author of eleven books of poetry and two books of essays. Her most recent books are The Grand Array: Writings on Nature, Science and Spirit and the poetry collection Wayfare. Rogers is the recipient of two NEA Grants, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a 2005 Literary Awardin Poetry from the Lannan Foundation. She lives in Colorado.
Kay Ryan was born in California in 1945 and grew up in the small towns of the San Joaquin Valley and the Mojave Desert. She received both a bachelor's and master's degree from UCLA. Ryan has published several collections of poetry, including The Niagara River; Say Uncle; Elephant Rocks; Flamingo Watching, which was a finalist for both the Lamont Poetry Selection and the Lenore Marshall Prize; Strangely Marked Metal; and Dragon Acts to Dragon Ends. The Best of It: New and Selected Poems was published by Grove Press in spring 2010. Ryan's awards include the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, a Guggenheim fellowship, an Ingram Merrill Award, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Union League Poetry Prize, the Maurice English Poetry Award, and four Pushcart Prizes. Her work has been selected four times for The Best American Poetry and was included in The Best of the Best American Poetry 1988-1997. Ryan was elected a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets in 2006. In 2008, Ryan was appointed the Library of Congress's sixteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry.
Sonia Sanchez is the author of over 16 books including Homecoming; We a BaddDDD People; Love Poems; I’ve Been a Woman; A Sound Investment and Other Stories; Homegirls and Handgrenades; Under a Soprano Sky; Wounded in the House of a Friend; Does Your House Have Lions?; Like the Singing Coming off the Drums; and most recently, Shake Loose My Skin. Sanchez is a poet, mother, professor, national and international lecturer on Black Culture and Literature, Women’s Liberation, Peace and Racial Justice, sponsor of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and board member of MADRE. In addition to being a contributing editor to Black Scholar and The Journal of African Studies, she has edited an anthology, We Be Word Sorcerers: 25 Stories by Black Americans. BMA: The Sonia Sanchez Literary Review is the first African American Journal that discusses the work of Sonia Sanchez and the Black Arts Movement. A recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts, the Lucretia Mott Award for 1984, the Outstanding Arts Award from the Pennsylvania Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Community Service Award from the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, she is a winner of the 1985 American Book Award for Homegirls and Handgrenades, the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Humanities for 1988, the Peace and Freedom Award from Women International League for Peace and Freedom (W.I.L.P.F.) for 1989, a PEW Fellowship in the Arts for 1992-1993 and the recipient of Langston Hughes Poetry Award for 1999. Does Your House Have Lions? was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She is the Poetry Society of America’s 2001 Robert Frost Medalist and a Ford Freedom Scholar from the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Her poetry also appeared in the movie Love Jones. Sonia Sanchez has lectured at over 500 universities and colleges in the United States and has traveled extensively, reading her poetry in Africa, Cuba, England, the Caribbean, Australia, Europe, Nicaragua, the People’s Republic of China, Norway, and Canada. She was the first Presidential Fellow at Temple University and she held the Laura Carnell Chair in English at Temple University. She is the recipient of the Harper Lee Award, 2004, Alabama Distinguished Writer, and the National Visionary Leadership Award for 2006. She is the recipient of the 2005 Leeway Foundation Transformational Award. Currently, Sonia Sanchez is one of 20 African American women featured in “Freedom Sisters,” an interactive exhibition created by the Cincinnati Museum Center and Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition and she was the recipient of the Robert Creeley award in March of 2009.
John Phillip Santos
John Phillip Santos, writer and documentary media producer, is the author of two memoirs, the National Book Award Finalist Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation, and The Farthest Home is in an Empire of Fire, as well as a book of poems, Songs Older Than Any Known Singer. He is currently University Distinguished Scholar in Mestizo Cultural Studies at the University of Texas in San Antonio.
Sapphire is first and foremost a poet and performer. She is the author of American Dreams, and Black Wings & Blind Angels. Her bestselling novel, Push, about an illiterate, brutalized Harlem teenager, won the Book-of-the-Month Club Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction, the Black Caucus of the American Library Association's First Novelist Award, and in Great Britain, the Mind Book of the Year Award. Push was named by The Village Voice as one of the top twenty-five books of 1996 and by TIMEOUT New York as one of the top ten books of 1996. Push was also nominated for an NAACP Image Award in the category of Outstanding Literary Work of Fiction. It was made into a major motion film, “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire”, produced by Oprah Winfrey.
Gary Shteyngart was born in Leningrad in 1972 and came to the United States seven years later. His first novel, The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, won the Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction and the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction. It was also named a New York Times Notable Book, a best book of the year by The Washington Post and Entertainment Weekly, and has been translated into twenty languages. His second novel, Absurdistan, was a national bestseller, named one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review and also Time magazine, and was named a best book of the year by The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Seattle Times, and Rocky Mountain News. His fiction and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, GQ, Travel & Leisure, The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, and many other publications. He lives in New York City and was named a Granta Best Young American Novelists and the New Yorker’s Top 20 Writers Under 40 in 2010.
Elizabeth Strout's bio is forthcoming.
Natasha Trethewey is author of Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; Native Guard, for which she won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize; Bellocq’s Ophelia, which was named a Notable Book for 2003 by the American Library Association; and Domestic Work. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Study Center, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. Her poems have appeared in such journals and anthologies as American Poetry Review, Callaloo, Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, New England Review, Gettysburg Review, and The Best American Poetry 2000 and 2003. Currently, she is Phillis Wheatley Distinguished Chair in Poetry at Emory University.
Helena Maria Viramontes
Helena María Viramontes is the author of Their Dogs Came with Them, a novel, and two previous works of fiction, The Moths and Other Stories and Under the Feet of Jesus. Named a USA Ford Fellow in Literature for 2007 by United States Artists, she has also received the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature, a Sundance Institute Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and the Luis Leal Award. Viramontes is currently Professor of Creative Writing in the Department of English at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, where she is at work on a new novel.
Rosmarie Waldrop, born in Germany in 1935, is a poet, translator, fiction writer, critic, and editor/publisher of Burning Deck Press in Providence, RI, with her husband, Keith Waldrop. She received her doctorate in comparative literature from the University of Michigan and has taught at Wesleyan, Tufts, and Brown. She is the recipient of an NEA Fellowship in poetry, as well as winner of the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award for her translation of Edmond Jabès’s The Book of Margins. In 2006 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. New Directions will publish Driven to Abstraction, an upcoming collection of poems, in November 2010.
Colson Whitehead’s novels have been nominated for and won numerous awards. His most recent novel, Sag Harbor, published in 2009, is a novel about teenagers hanging out in Sag Harbor, Long Island during the summer of 1985. Colson Whitehead's reviews, essays, and fiction have appeared in a number of publications, such as the New York Times, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Harper's, and Granta. He has received a MacArthur Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, and a fellowship at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.
Charles Wright is the author of several collections of poetry including Sestets: Poems; Littlefoot: A Poem; Scar Tissue, which was the international winner for the Griffin Poetry Prize.; Buffalo Yoga; Negative Blue; Appalachia; Black Zodiac, which won the Pulitzer Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Chickamauga, which won the 1996 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; The World of the Ten Thousand Things: Poems 1980-1990; Zone Journals; Country Music: Selected Early Poems, which won the National Book Award; Hard Freight, which was nominated for the National Book Award; among others. He has also written two volumes of criticism and has translated the work of Dino Campana in Orphic Songs as well as Eugenio Montale's The Storm and Other Poems, which was awarded the PEN Translation Prize. His many honors include the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award of Merit Medal and the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. In 1999 he was elected to serve as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. He is Souder Family Professor of English at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
Jeffrey Yang is a poet, translator, and editor at New Directions Publishing. He is the author of the poetry books An Aquarium and the forthcoming Vanishing-Line, both with Graywolf Press. He has translated Su Shi's East Slope and a collection of classical Chinese poems called Rhythm 226. An anthology of nature poems from New Directions he edited, Birds, Beast, and Seas, will be published in Spring 2011.He is the coeditor with Natasha Wimmer of Two Lines: Some Kind of Beautiful Signal.
Kevin Young, widely regarded as one of the leading poets of his generation, finds meaning and inspiration in African American music, particularly the blues and in the bittersweet history of Black America. Recently released is the poetry anthology, The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief and Healing, selected and edited by Young. His newest book of poetry, Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels, is due out from Knopf in 2011. Young's poetry and essays have appeared in the New Yorker, New York Times Book Review, Paris Review, Kenyon Review, and Callaloo. His awards include a Stegner Fellowship in Poetry at Stanford University, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship. He is currently a professor of poetry at Emory University.
Raúl Zurita, born in Chile in 1951, is among the most significant contemporary Latin American poets. Arrested and tortured during the military coup of 11 September 1973, his early work is a ferocious response to the Pinochet regime and its effect on the Chilean people, environment and language. He later founded the radical artistic group CADA, wrote poems on the sky and in the desert, and, over the course of fifteen years, composed a trilogy considered a signal work of Latin American poetry: Purgatorio, Anteparaiso, and La Vida Nueva. Other books include Poemas Militantes, Los Paises Muertos, Poemas de amor, In Memoriam, and Cuadernos de Guerra. Zurita is the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Literature Prize of Chile and Guggenheim Fellowships. English language editions were published in 2009 from Marick Press, Action Books, and the University of California Press.
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Ai was born in Albany, Texas in 1947. She received a BA from the University of Arizona in Oriental Studies and an MFA from the University of California, Irvine. She published her first book, Cruelty, in 1973, and seven later collections, Killing Floor, Sin, Fate, Greed, Vice, Dread, and No Surrender. Her awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Lamont Poetry Award, two National Endowment for the Arts grants, the American Book Award, the National Book Award, anda United States Artists Ford Fellowship. Most of her poems are dramatic monologues, often dealing with violence, gender, and race. She described her ethnicity as Japanese, Choctaw-Chickasaw, Black, Irish, southern Cheyenne, and Comanche. From 1999 until her death in 2010, she was a professor at Oklahoma State University.
Rane Arroyo was born and raised in Chicago. Over his lifetime, he published eleven books of poetry; his posthumous work, White As Silver, was published by Cervena Barva Press. Additionally, he published How to Name a Hurricane and Dancing at Funerals. Arroyo’s poetry and drama have been translated, published, and performed internationally. He won the Carl Sandburg Prize in Poetry, the John Ciardi Prize, and an Ohio Arts Council Excellence Award. An openly gay, Puerto Rican and Midwestern author, his work has been well received by many constituencies. Arroyo was co-founder and co-publisher of New Sins Press with his life partner, the American poet, Glenn Sheldon. Arroyo joined the board of AWP as a Midwestern representative and was on the 2009 AWP conference committee in Chicago. A creative writing professor at The University of Toledo, Arroyo was named Distinguished University Professor shortly prior to his untimely death in May of 2010 from a cerebral hemorrhage. Arroyo was a selfless, energetic, and contagiously animated mentor to many.
Lucille Clifton was the former Distinguished Professor of Humanities at St. Mary's College in Maryland. She was the former Poet Laureate of Maryland and won many prizes for her poetry, including a National Book Award. Clifton also received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and an Emmy Award from the American Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Clifton's first book, a collection of poetry entitled Good Times, was hailed by the New York Times as one of the year's ten best books. Clifton's later poetry collections include Next: New Poems, Quilting: Poems 1987-1990, The Terrible Stories, Generations: A Memoir, Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir: 1969-1980, Blessing The Boats: New and Collected Poems 1988-2000, and Mercy. Clifton passed away on February 13, 2010.
Robert Coover has written twenty-some books, most recently Noir and A Child Again, and has received many prizes, including the Faulkner Award, the Rhea Lifetime Achievement Award, and a Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship. At Brown University, he teaches Cave Writing (a writing workshop in immersive virtual reality), and directs the International Writers Project, a freedom-to-write program.
Marilyn Hacker’s twelve books of poems include Names and Essays on Departure. She is also the translator of French poets Venus Khoury-Ghata, Marie Erienne, and Hedi Kaddour. She is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
John Haines was a young Navy veteran who set out in 1947 from Washington D.C. for the territory of Alaska. In the wilderness south of Fairbanks, he built the homestead that would become the center of his life and art. Born to a military family in 1924 in Norfolk, Virginia, he had moved nine times by the age of fourteen. In central Alaska, Haines found a place to take root in and a place to nourish in return. Winter News, his first book published, introduced a poet whose economy of language and precise imagery were in perfect balance to the landscape and people he describes. Haines has since gone on to publish more than a dozen collections of poetry and several of prose. He has received two Guggenheims, the Alaska Governors Award, an NEA Fellowship, an Amy Lowell Traveling Fellowship, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Library of Congress.
Morton Marcus was born in New York. He attended the Iowa Writer's Workshop and completed his M.A. at Stanford University. Marcus taught English and film at Cabrillo College for 30 years. His published work includes 11 poetry books, a novel, a memoir, more than 500 poems in literary journals, and over 90 poems in anthologies. His last books were Striking Through the Masks: A Literary Memoir; The Star Wizard's Legacy (translations of Vasko Popa); and The Dark Figure in the Doorway: Last Poems. Marcus conducted readings and workshops in dozens of universities, and was poet-in-residence at several SUNY campuses, The University of Arkansas' Graduate Writing Program, Providence College, and The Prague Summer Program. The Morton Marcus Poetry Archive is housed at UC Santa Cruz in his honor.
Jack Myers’ career spanned several decades, during which he authored/edited 18 books of and about poetry. His many awards include two NEA Fellowships and the 1985 National Poetry Series selected by Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, who describes Myers’ work as “wise in the pretense of just fooling around.” A much-loved teacher, Myers helped hundreds of poets find their voice through the creative writing programs at Vermont College and Southern Methodist University, as well as during residencies from Idaho to Prague. From 1993-95, Myers served as co-Vice-President for AWP and co-founded The Writer’s Garret literary center in Dallas; in 2003 he was selected to be the Poet Laureate of Texas. A final collection, The Memory of Water, is expected in the Spring of 2011 from New Issues Press.
Raymond J. Smtih
Raymond J. Smith served as the editor and publisher of Ontario Review from its founding in 1974 until his death in 2008. Together with his wife of forty-six years, Joyce Carol Oates―one of the most accomplished and celebrated American writers―he later founded Ontario Review Press, which published more than fifty books, most new fiction and poetry. A literary scholar with a Ph.D. in English from the University of Wisconsin, his editing style was thoughtful, polite, and patiently non-intrusive. He was a painstaking line editor, and, as the author Edmund White states, “His taste was flawless.” Ray Smith viewed editing as an intensely creative act. He saw his work for Ontario Review as a service of resistance to “the deadening commercialism of modern Western civilization.
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Kevin Fenton lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and works as an advertising writer and creative director. He has published stories in the Laurel Review, the Northwest Review, and Emprise Review; poetry in the Beloit Poetry Journal, and reviews and essays in Rain Taxi, the design quarterlies Émigré and Eye (London), and the Minneapolis StarTribune. An essay was anthologized in Looking Closer 2: Critical Writing On Graphic Design. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota and a J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School. He serves on the board of two organizations: Rain Taxi Review of Books and the Innocence Project of Minnesota.
Bradley Paul was born in Baltimore in 1972. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, his poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Pleiades, Smartish Pace, Boston Review, and other journals. His first book of poetry, The Obvious, was selected by Brenda Hillman for the 2004 New Issues Poetry Prize. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, the painter and writer Karri Paul, and their dog, Violet.
Christine Sneed is a graduate of the MFA writing program at Indiana University and has published stories in Best American Short Stories 2008, New England Review, Massachusetts Review, Meridian, Other Voices, Greensboro Review, River Styx, Phoebe, South Dakota Review, and several other journals. She has been awarded an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in poetry and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize four times. She lives in Evanston, IL and teaches creative writing and literature courses at DePaul University in Chicago.
David Vann’s story collection, Legend of a Suicide, was the winner of the 2007 Grace Paley Prize and a California Book Award and was named a Notable Book of 2008 by the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Kansas City Star, and the Story Prize. The paperback will come out from HarperCollins in January 2010, the UK and Commonwealth edition from Viking UK in October 2009. The book will also appear in French and Italian. A contributor to many journals, Vann is also author of the best-selling memoir, A Mile Down: The True Story of a Disastrous Career at Sea, and a forthcoming novel, Caribou Island (HarperCollins 2011). He’s been featured in documentaries by the BBC, NOVA, and CNN and sold the film rights to his unpublished memoir, Crocodile: Memoirs From a Mexican Drug-Running Port. He’s been a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, a Wallace Stegner Fellow, and a John L’Heureux Fellow, and has taught at Stanford and Cornell, where he received his degrees, and he is currently a professor at the University of San Francisco. His website is www.davidvann.com.
- Jhumpa Lahiri photo by Elena Seibert
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- Sandra Alcosser photo by Philip Maechling
- Rae Armantrout photo by Kevin Walsh
- Adrian Blevins photo by Connie Stevens
- Rosanne Cash photo by Deborah Feingo
- Sandra Cisneros photo by Ray Santisteban
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- Martín Espada photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths
- Joshua Ferris photo by Nina Subin
- Thalia Field photo by Richard Cummings
- Carolyn Forché photo by Emma Dodge Hanson
- Mary Gaitskill photo by Hillary Harvey
- Forrest Gander photo by Yuh-Hwa Ning
- John Wesley Harding photo by Bill Wadman
- Amy Hempel photo by Kenneth Chen
- Kristin Hersh photo by Dina Douglas
- Marie Howe photo by Brad Fowler
- Edward P. Jones photo by Jerry Bauer
- Carole Maso photo by Dixie Sheridan
- Rick Moody photo by Thatcher Keats
- Aimee Nezhukumatathil photo by Marion Ettlinger
- Mark Nowak photo by Lisa Arrastía
- Joyce Carol Oates photo by Marion Ettlinger
- Gregory Orr photo by Matt Valentine
- Benjamin Percy photo by Jennifer May
- Jayne Anne Phillips photo by Elena Seibert
- Josh Ritter photo by Marcelo Biglia
- Pattiann Rogers photo by John R. Rogers
- Kay Ryan photo by Christina Koci Hernandez
- Sapphire photo by Lina Pallotta
- Gary Shteyngart photo by Lacombe
- Raymond S. Smith and Joyce Carol Oates photo by Eva Haggdahl
- Elizabeth Strout photo by M. Berkley
- Natasha Trethewey photo by Matt Valentine
- Helena Maria Viramontes photo by Nico Tucci
- Colson Whitehead photo by Erin Patrice O'Brien
- Kevin Young photo by Todd Martens
- Raúl Zurita photo by Héctor González de Cunco
- Marilyn Hacker photo by Robert Giard
- John Haines photo by Brian Allen