National Endowment for the Arts Presents Sixth Annual Poetry Pavilion at the National Book Festival
Biographies of Participants
Eavan Boland is universally acknowledged as the preeminent female poet and contemporary writer of her native Ireland. She has published nine volumes of poetry, including Domestic Violence (2007) and New Collected Poems (2008), both with W.W. Norton. Her awards include the Lannan Foundation Award in Poetry and an American Ireland Fund Literary Award. She is on the board of the Irish Arts Council, a member of the Irish Academy of Letters, and on the advisory board of the International Writers Center at Washington University. She lives in Stanford, California, where she is professor of English at Stanford University and director of the creative writing program.
Poet and literary critic Dan Chiasson has published two books of poetry, The Afterlife of Objects (2002) and Natural History (Random House/Knopf, 2005), as well as a critical book on American poetry: One Kind of Everything: Poem and Person in Contemporary America (Univ. of Chicago, 2007). He serves as poetry critic for The New Yorker and The New York Times Book Review. His awards include a 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship for poetry, a Pushcart Prize, and a Whiting Writers' Award. He teaches poetry workshops and courses on American poetry at Wellesley College and lives in Sudbury, Massachusetts.
Elsa Cross is the author of 20 books of poetry, including Jaguar, inspired by ancient sites and symbols of Mexico, and Espirales, which features selected poems published from 1965 to 1999; and the trilogy: Los sueos (Elegías), Ultramar (Odas) and El vino de las cosas (Ditirambos). Her latest collection is Cuaderno de Amorgós (Aldus, 2007). She is a recipient of several awards, including the Premio Nacional de Poesía Nacional Aguascalientes, the Jaime Sabines-Gatien International Poetry Prize (2007) and the Xavier Villurrutia Prize (2008), Mexico's most prestigious poetry prize. She holds a professorship at Mexico's National Autonomous University, where she teaches philosophy of religion and comparative mythology.
Michael Lind, the Whitehead Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C., has been a staff writer for The New Yorker and Washington correspondent for Harper's Magazine. He is the author of a number of books of history, fiction and verse. His works of poetry include: When You Are Someone Else (Aralia Press, 2002); a chapbook; Bluebonnet Girl (Henry Holt, 2004); a prize-winning children's book in verse; and The Alamo (1997), a narrative poem selected as the Los Angeles Times Book Review's "best book of the year." His first collection of verse is Parallel Lives (Etruscan Press, 2007). He lives in the District of Columbia.
Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, Dana Gioia is an internationally acclaimed poet, critic, educator, and former business executive. He received a B.A. and a M.B.A. from Stanford University and a M.A. in Comparative Literature from Harvard University. Gioia began his term as the ninth chairman in February 2003 and in December 2006 he was confirmed for a second, four-year term. He is best known for his 1991 book Can Poetry Matter? about the role of poetry in contemporary culture. His collection of poems, Interrogations at Noon, won the 2002 American Book Award. His poems, translations, essays, and reviews have appeared in many magazines including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times Book Review, Slate, and The Hudson Review. He also has written two opera libretti, including Nosferatu (2001) recently performed by Opera Idaho.
Award-winning poet Michael S. Harper has published more than ten books of poetry, including Dear John, Dear Coltrane, Healing Song for the Inner Ear, Honorable Amendments, and Songlines in Michaeltree: New and Collected Poems (University of Illinois Press, 2000). He is Poet Laureate Emeritus of Rhode Island and has been honored with the Frost Medal for Lifetime Achievement of the Poetry Society of America, the Melville-Cane Award, the Black Academy of Arts and Letters Award, and the Robert Hayden Poetry Award, among others. He is university professor and professor of English at Brown University and lives in Barrington, Rhode Island.
Poet and creative nonfiction writer Molly Peacock is the author of several books of poetry, including her latest, The Second Blush (W.W. Norton, 2008). Among her other works are How to Read a Poem...and Start a Poetry Circle and a memoir, Paradise, Piece by Piece. She conducts quarterly poetry circles on Wisconsin Public Radio's Here on Earth and does a one-woman staged monologue in poems. Through her work with the College Board and Advanced Placement English, she is studying how young adults connect to poetry. She has received awards from the Danforth Foundation, Ingram Merrill Foundation, Woodrow Wilson Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and New York State Council on the Arts. A transplanted New Yorker, she now lives in Toronto.
Stanley Plumly is the author of 10 collections of poetry, including In the Outer Dark (1970), Out-of-the-Body Travel (1977) and Old Heart: Poems (W.W. Norton, 2007). His works of nonfiction include his latest book, Posthumous Keats: A Personal Biography (W.W. Norton, 2008). He is the recipient of the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award, the William Carlos Williams Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Ingram-Merrill Foundation Award, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, and six Pushcart Prizes, among other honors. He edited the Ohio Review (1970-1975) and the Iowa Review (1976-1978) and has taught at numerous institutions across the country as well as at the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. He is a professor of English at the University of Maryland at College Park and lives in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
J. Allyn Rosser is author of three collections of poetry, including Bright Moves, winner of the Samuel French Morse Prize; Misery Prefigured, winner of the Crab Orchard Award; and Foiled Again (Ivan R. Dee, 2007 ), winner of the New Criterion Poetry Prize. Among other awards, she is a recipient of a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, Yaddo, Breadloaf, and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Her poems have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, Slate.com, The Kenyon Review, The Georgia Review, Hunger Mountain, and several anthologies. Rosser teaches in the creative writing program of Ohio University and lives in Athens, Ohio.
Kay Ryan, the Library of Congress's 16th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2008-2009, has written six books of poetry, plus a limited-edition artist's book, along with a number of essays. Her books include Say Uncle (2000) and The Niagara River (Grove Press, 2005). She is the recipient of several awards, including the Gold Medal for poetry (2005) from the San Francisco Commonwealth Club, the Poetry Foundation's Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize (2004), and four Pushcart Prizes. She has been selected in four different years for inclusion in the annual volumes of the Best American Poetry and has been a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets since 2006. Ryan lives in Fairfax, California.
POETRY OUT LOUD STATE CHAMPIONS
Carolyn Rose García of Fairmont, West Virginia, reads everything from Shakespeare to Douglas Adams. Besides reading, she runs track, cantors at masses, and enjoys practicing origami. This summer, she toured Austria, Prague, and the Czech Republic with her choir and visited a Navy uncle in Japan. She plans to become a travel writer, journalist, or to work for National Public Radio.
Gabrielle Guarracino has reigned as Massachusetts Poetry Out Loud champion for two years. She has a passion for music and plays the clarinet. Her favorite authors include Louisa May Alcott and J.K. Rowling -- as well as anything Russian. She writes both prose and poetry and tutors math, as well as studies French and Latin.
Madison Niermeyer became the 2008 third-place national finalist and Utah Poetry Out Loud champion as a senior at Skyline High School in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is a fan of Allen Ginsberg, Billy Collins, and e.e. cummings and loves everything outdoors, especially skiing, hiking, and white water kayaking. "I have a passion for writing poetry. I find that I can articulate things through poetry that I don't know how to express any other way. It is a very cathartic outlet for me," says Niermeyer. She is attending Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, this fall.
Allison Strong of Union City, New Jersey, recently visited relatives in Colombia, where her great-grandfather had made his living writing poetry. Even though he died in the 1940s Allison feels she has gotten to know him through Poetry Out Loud. Her favorite authors include Emily Dickinson, Mitch Albom, and Jane Austen. She enjoys acting, baking, playing the piano and performing the national anthem at events, and hosting a show on a local television channel.
Charles White was raised in Ada, Michigan, with his two sisters -- Miracle and Majesty -- with Langston Hughes' "Mother to Son" framed on the wall. His other favorite poets are Robert Frost and Edgar Allen Poe. He loves to play music and make music -- and to step (a dance involving the creative of different rhythms with the hands and feet). This past summer he crossed the country with the Valeau step ministry. According to Charles, "life is just a series of everyday choices that lead you to your divine calling."
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