New York, December 14—Tree Swenson, Executive Director of the Academy of American Poets, announced that Lyn Hejinian, Sharon Olds, and Carl Phillips have been elected to the Board of Chancellors, the Academy’s advisory board of distinguished poets. They were elected by current Chancellors Frank Bidart, Rita Dove, Robert Hass, Susan Howe, Galway Kinnell, Philip Levine, Nathaniel Mackey, Robert Pinsky, Kay Ryan, Gary Snyder, Gerald Stern, James Tate, Ellen Bryant Voigt, and C. K. Williams.
Lyn Hejinian was born in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1941. Her books of poetry include The Fatalist (Omnidawn Publishing, 2003), My Life in the Nineties (2003), A Border Comedy (2001), The Beginner (2000), Happily (2000), Sight (with Leslie Scalapino, 1999), The Cold of Poetry (1994), The Cell (1992), My Life (1980), Writing Is an Aid to Memory (1978), and A Thought Is the Bride of What Thinking
(1976). She is also the author of The
Language of Inquiry (University of California Press, 2000), a collection of essays. From 1976 to 1984, Hejinian was editor of Tuumba Press, and since 1981 she has been the co-editor of Poetics Journal. She is also the co-director of Atelos, a literary project commissioning and publishing cross-genre work by poets. Hejinian’s honors include a writing fellowship from the California Arts Council, a grant from the Poetry Fund, and a translation fellowship for her Russian translations from the National Endowment of the Arts. She received the sixty-sixth Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets for distinguished poetic achievement at mid-career. She lives in Berkeley, California.
Sharon Olds studied at Stanford University and Columbia University. Her first collection of poems, Satan Says (1980), received the inaugural San Francisco Poetry Center Award. Olds’s following collection, The Dead & the Living (1983), received the Lamont Poetry Selection in 1983 and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her other collections include Strike Sparks: Selected Poems (Knopf, 2004), The Unswept Room (2002), Blood, Tin, Straw (1999), The Gold Cell (1997), The
Wellspring (1995), and The Father (1992), which was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Olds’s honors include a National Endowment for the Arts grant and a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. Olds held the position of New York State Poet from 1998 to 2000, and she currently teaches poetry workshops at New York University’s Graduate Creative Writing Program as well as a workshop at Goldwater Hospital on Roosevelt Island in New York.
Carl Phillips is the author of numerous books of poetry, most recently Quiver of Arrows: Selected Poems 1986–2006 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007) and Riding Westward (2006). His other books include The Rest of Love (2004), winner of the Theodore Roethke Memorial Foundation Poetry Prize, the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Male Poetry, and finalist for the National Book Award; Rock Harbor (2002); The Tether (2001),
winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award; Pastoral (2000), winner of the Lambda Literary Award; Cortège (1995), finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and In the Blood (1992), winner of the Samuel French Morse Poetry Prize. Phillips is also the author of Coin of the Realm: Essays on the Art and Life of Poetry (2004), and he translated Sophocles’s Philoctetes (Oxford University Press, 2003). Among his honors are an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and induction into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a professor of English and of African and Afro-American studies at Washington University in St. Louis, where he also teaches in the creative writing program.
For more information about these poets and to read samples of their work, please visit
The Board of Chancellors was established in 1946 in accordance to the guidelines set forth by the Academy’s founder, Mrs. Marie Bullock, who stated:
These men and women must be chosen from amongst literary persons of the highest standing. They must themselves be known for their good judgment and eminent integrity of opinion. They should geographically represent the entire United States, so that their choices will be representative of the nation as a whole, and not of one trend of thought, or literary clique, or section.
The Academy of American Poets’ Board of Chancellors elects the recipients of the Wallace Stevens Award and the Academy of American Poets Fellowship. They also act as consultants to the organization on matters of artistic direction and programming and serve as ambassadors of poetry in the world at large. Chancellors of the Academy have included Marianne Moore, W. H. Auden, Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop, John Berryman, Robert Penn Warren, and James Merrill, among others.
About the Academy of American Poets
The Academy of American Poets is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1934 to foster appreciation for contemporary poetry and to support American poets at all stages of their careers. For over three generations, the Academy has connected millions of people to great poetry through programs such as National Poetry Month, the largest literary celebration in the world; Poets.org, the most popular site about poetry on the web, presenting a wealth of great poems, audio
recordings, poet biographies, essays, and interactive discussions about poetry; the Poetry Audio Archive, capturing the voices of contemporary American poets for generations to come; American Poet, a biannual literary journal; and our annual series of poetry readings and special events. The Academy also awards prizes to accomplished poets at all stages of their careers—from hundreds of student prizes at colleges nationwide to the Wallace Stevens Award for lifetime achievement in the art of poetry. For more information, visit www.poets.org.