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Mark Doty, Juan Felipe Herrera, and Anne Waldman Elected Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets

 

New York, January 11—Tree Swenson, Executive Director of the Academy of American Poets, announced that Mark Doty, Juan Felipe Herrera, and Anne Waldman have been elected to the Board of Chancellors, the Academy's advisory board of distinguished poets.

They were elected by current Academy Chancellors Victor Hernández Cruz, Rita Dove, Marilyn Hacker, Lyn Hejinian, Edward Hirsch, Naomi Shihab Nye, Sharon Olds, Ron Padgett, Carl Phillips, Robert Pinsky, Marie Ponsot, Kay Ryan, Gerald Stern, Susan Stewart, and C.K. Williams. The next three days of the Academy's Poem-A-Day program will be devoted to new poems from the new Chancellors, starting with Mark Doty.

Mark Doty was born in Maryville, Tennessee in 1953. He is the author of several collections of poetry, most recently Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems (HarperCollins, 2008), which received the National Book Award, School of the Arts (2005), and My Alexandria (University of Illinois Press, 1993), which received the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a National Poetry Series selection. He is a professor at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and lives in New York City.

About Doty's poetry, Academy Chancellor Gerald Stern recently said:

"Mark Doty writes with absolute exactitude, with one eye on the ideal or absolute and one on the real; the ghost of Walt Whitman on one hand, and a laundromat on 16th Street in New York, on the other. There is not a finer, more delicate, more sublime poet writing today in the English language. It's a poet's job to show us what we knew but never saw before; and it's a poet's job to tell us over and over what love is. Doty is this poet."

Juan Felipe Herrera was born in Fowler, California in 1948. He received his M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1990 and has since then written many collections of poems including, Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems (University of Arizona, 2008), a recipient of the PEN/Beyond Margins Award, and Crashboomlove (University of New Mexico, 1999), a novel in verse, which received the Americas Award. Among his honors are fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, and the University of California at Berkeley. He currently holds the Tomás Rivera Endowed Chair in the Creative Writing Department at UC Riverside.

About Herrera's poetry, Academy Chancellor Sharon Olds recently said:

"Juan Felipe Herrera is a poet of intense passion, imagination, empathy, and wit. And he lets each poem take him where it will, into its own inward strangeness and outward clarity. I came across Juan Felipe Herrera's 'Inside the Jacket' during a time of upheaval in my life, when I needed to be aware of the full range of what I was feeling, and I did not know how. I would say the poem over and over to myself, and its love and anger and beauty kept me company, and empowered me."

Photo by Greg Fuchs
Photo by Greg Fuchs
Anne Waldman, a prominent figure in the Beat poetry generation, was born in Millville, New Jersey on April 2, 1945. From 1966 until 1978 she ran the St. Mark's Poetry Project, reading with fellow poets such as Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso. She has published over forty books of poetry, including In the Room of Never Grieve: New and Selected Poems, 1985-2003 (Coffee House Press, 2003), and has received numerous awards and honors, including The Dylan Thomas Memorial Award, The National Literary Anthology Award, and The Shelley Memorial Award for poetry.

About Waldman's poetry, Academy Chancellor Lyn Hejinian recently said:

"Visionary; activist; luminary; feminist; writer of myth, lyric, epic, chant; teacher; editor; organizer; diva of altruistic event, performer; perpetual champion of the planet and its poets and poetries—Anne Waldman is one of the contemporary world's greatest writers. Her lifelong commitment to an expansive poetics and to an open-spirited, generous, and, when need be, feisty engagement with words in the world began in the 1960s and continues to this day, unabated."

For more information about these poets and to read samples of their work, please visit www.poets.org.

The Board of Chancellors was established in 1946 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 an 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.




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