Sandra Alcosser has published seven books of poetry, including A Fish to Feed All Hunger and Except by Nature, which have been selected for the National Poetry Series, the Academy of American Poets James Laughlin Award, the Larry Levis Award, the Associated Writing Programs Award in Poetry, and the William Stafford Award from Pacific Northwest Booksellers. She is the National Endowment for the Arts’ first Conservation Poet for the Wildlife Conservation Society and Poets House, New York, as well as Montana’s first poet laureate and the 2006 recipient of the Merriam Award for Distinguished Contribution to Montana Literature.
Chard deNiord was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1952. He graduated from Lynchburg College in 1975, received an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School in 1978 and an MFA from the University of Iowa in 1985. He has published three books of poetry, Night Mowing (The University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005). Sharp Golden Thorn (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003), and Asleep in the Fire (University of Alabama Press, 1990). His poems have received two prizes from the Poetry Society of America and appeared in Best American Poetry and The Pushcart Prize. He is the program director of the New England College MFA program in poetry, which he cofounded in 2001, and an associate professor of English at Providence College. He lives in Putney, Vermont.
Ross Gay was born in Youngstown, Ohio and grew up outside of Philadelphia. His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, and Atlanta Review, among other journals. He is a Cave Canem fellow and has been a Bread Loaf Tuition Scholar. In addition to holding a Ph.D. in American Literature from Temple University, he is a basketball coach, an occasional demolition man, and a painter. Ross teaches poetry at Montclair State University in NJ and at New England College’s Low-Residency MFA program. His book of poems, Against Which, was published in 2006.
Edward Hirsch has published seven books of poems: For the Sleepwalkers (1981), Wild Gratitude (1986), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, The Night Parade (1989), Earthly Measures (1994), On Love (1998) and Lay Back the Darkness (2003) and Special Orders (2008). He has also written four prose books, including How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry (1999), a national best-seller, and Poet’s Choice (2006). He is a co-editor of A William Maxwell Portrait (2006) and The Making of a Sonnet: A Norton Anthology (2008). He has received the Prix de Rome, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature, and a MacArthur Fellowship. A professor in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston for seventeen years, he is now President of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
Ilya Kaminsky was born in Odessa, former Soviet Union, in 1977, and came to the United States in 1993. He is the author of Dancing In Odessa (Tupelo Press, 2004) which won the Whiting Writer’s Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Metcalf Award, the Dorset Prize, the Ruth Lilly Fellowship given annually by Poetry magazine. Dancing In Odessa was also named Best Poetry Book of the Year 2004 by ForeWord Magazine. Ilya has served as a Writer In Residence at Phillips Exeter and teaches in the graduate writing program at San Diego State University. Ilya also writes poetry in Russian. His work in that language was chosen for “Bunker Poetico” at Venice Bienial Festival in Italy.
Thomas Lux was born in Massachusetts in 1946. He was educated at Emerson College and The University of Iowa. His books of poetry include The Cradle Place (Houghton Mifflin, 2004); The Street of Clocks (2001); New and Selected Poems, 1975-1995 (1997), which was a finalist for the 1998 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; The Blind Swimmer: Selected Early Poems, 1970-1975 (1996); Split Horizon (1994), for which he received the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award; Pecked to Death by Swans (1993); A Boat in the Forest (1992); The Drowned River: New Poems (1990). He has been a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award in Poetry and has received three National Endowment for the Arts grants and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Currently, he is Bourne Professor of Poetry and director of the McEver Visiting Writers program at the Georgia Institute of Technology as well as on the MFA faculties of Sarah Lawrence College and Warren Wilson College.
Heather McHugh graduated from Radcliffe in 1969, did graduate work in Denver, and began university teaching in 1972. She has published 13 books, including volumes of poetry (most recently, Eyeshot), one collection of literary essays (Broken English: Poetry and Partiality), and several translations, alone and in collaboration (Follain, Dimitrova, Euripides, Celan). She lives in Seattle, where she has served as Milliman Distinguished Writer in Residence at the University of Washington since 1984. During semesters off she teaches in the low-residency MFA Program at Warren Wilson College (near Asheville, NC). A winner of grants and awards from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, she recently finished a term as chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Patricia Smith was born in Chicago, Ill. in 1955. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Stonecoast/The University of Southern Maine. Her books of poetry include Teahouse of the Almighty, a winner of the 2005 National Poetry Series, Close to Death); Big Towns, Big Talk and Life According to Motown. She is also the author of Africans in America, a companion book to the groundbreaking PBS series, and the children’s book Janna and the Kings, which won the 2003 Lee & Low Books New Voices Award. Her work has been published in The Paris Review, TriQuarterly, and many other journals and anthologies, including The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry. A four-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam, Smith has performed her work around the world. She is currently a Cave Canem faculty member, and has served as the Bruce McEver Chair in Writing at Georgia Tech University.
Gerald Stern was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1925 and was educated at the University of Pittsburgh and Columbia University. He is the author of fourteen books of poetry including, This Time: New and Selected Poems, which won the National Book Award in 1998, and most recently Everything is Burning published in 2005, both from W.W. Norton. A collection of personal essays titled What I Can’t Bear Losing: Notes From a Life was released in the fall of 2003, also by W.W. Norton. He has taught at many universities including, University of Pittsburgh, Columbia University, and for fifteen years was senior poet at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He is the recipient of many awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, three National Endowment of the Arts Fellowships, the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts for the State of Pennsylvania, the Lamont Poetry Prize and the Ruth Lilly Prize. He was the first Poet Laureate of New Jersey, serving from 2000 to 2002 and was the recipient of both the 2005 Wallace Steven Award for mastery for in the art of poetry and the 2005 National Jewish Book Award for poetry. In 2006 Stern was named a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
Anne Waldman, in the experimental lineages of the beat poetry and the New York School and a celebrated performer of her own work, was born in New Jersey in 1945. After receiving her B.A. from Bennington College in 1966, she ran the St. Mark’s Poetry Project, reading with fellow poets such as Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso, until 1978. Together with Ginsberg, Waldman founded the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado. She has published over forty books of poetry, including: Outrider (2006), In the Room of Never Grieve: New and Selected Poems, 1985-2003 (Coffee House Press, 2003), Dark Arcana / Afterimage or Glow (2003), Vow to Poetry (2001), Marriage: A Sentence (2000). Among the honors Waldman has received for her poetry are The Dylan Thomas Memorial Award, The Poets Foundation Award, The National Literary Anthology Award, and The Shelley Memorial Award. She is currently the director of the M.F.A. Writing and Poetics program at the Naropa Institute. She divides her time between Boulder, Colorado and New York City, and travels to Poetry festivals all over the world. She has worked collaboratively with visual artists such as Richard Tuttle, Elizabeth Murray and Red Grooms and was a poet-in-residence with Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue tour.