Marilyn Chin, Kwame Dawes, and Marie Howe Named Academy of American Poets Chancellors

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Jan 03 2018
New York, NY (January 3, 2018)—The Academy of American Poets is pleased to announce that Marilyn Chin, Kwame Dawes, and Marie Howe have been named its newest Chancellors, an honorary position that has been held by some of the most distinguished poets in the United States, including W. H. Auden, John Ashbery, Elizabeth Bishop, Lucille Clifton, Yusef Komunyakaa, Adrienne Rich, and Mark Strand.
 
As new members of the Board of Chancellors, Chin, Dawes, and Howe will consult with the organization on matters of artistic programming, serve as judges for the organization’s largest prizes for poets, and act as ambassadors of poetry in the world at large. The new Chancellors were selected by the current members—Elizabeth Alexander, Ellen Bass, Forrest Gander, Linda Gregerson, Terrance Hayes, Brenda Hillman, Khaled Mattawa, Marilyn Nelson, Alicia Ostriker, Claudia Rankine, Alberto Ríos, and David St. John—and will be filling the seats vacated by Toi Derricotte, Jane Hirshfield, and Arthur Sze, whose terms have concluded. Each Chancellor serves for a period of six years.
 
About the New Chancellors
 
Marilyn Chin was born in Hong Kong and raised in Portland, Oregon. She received a BA from the University of Massachusetts and an MFA from the University of Iowa. 
 
Her most recent poetry collection, A Portrait of the Self As Nation: New and Selected Poems (W. W. Norton), is forthcoming this year. She is also the author of Hard Love Province (W. W. Norton, 2014), winner of the 2015 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award; Rhapsody in Plain Yellow (W. W. Norton, 2002); The Phoenix Gone, The Terrace Empty (Milkweed Editions, 1994); and Dwarf Bamboo (Greenfiled Review Press, 1987).
 
Academy Chancellor Khaled Mattawa says Chin “has made a distinct contribution to American letters, working in various genres over the past four decades. Distinguished by its formal inventiveness, startling images and compelling meditations on migration, belonging, and love, her poetry has been a profoundly humane and fiercely beautiful testament of our times.”
 
Chin’s honors include a Radcliffe Institute Fellowship at Harvard, a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship at Bellagio, two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, the Wallace Stegner Fellowship, the PEN/Josephine Miles Award, and five Pushcart Prizes. She has taught at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and has served as guest poet at universities in Singapore, Hong Kong, Manchester, Sydney, and Berlin. She is currently Professor Emerita at San Diego State University.
 
Kwame Dawes was born in Ghana and raised in Kingston, Jamaica. He received a BA from the University of the West Indies at Mona in 1983 and went on to study and teach in New Brunswick, Canada, on a Commonwealth Scholarship. In 1992, he received a PhD in English from the University of New Brunswick.
 
In 1994, he published his first collection of poetry, Progeny of Air (Peepal Tree Press), which received the Forward Poetry Prize for Best First Collection. He is also the author of City of Bones: A Testament (Northwestern University Press, 2017), Duppy Conqueror: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2013), Wheels (Peepal Tree Press, 2010), New and Selected Poems, 1994–2002 (Peepal Tree Press, 2003), Midland (Ohio University Press, 2001), and Prophets (Peepal Tree Press, 1995), among many others.
 
Academy Chancellor Ellen Bass says Dawes's "brilliant poetry is deeply compassionate, ruthlessly honest, rich in spirit, imagination, and intelligence. His colossal outpouring of poems both stun and console us. Rooted in music, they sing of struggle and transcendence. The breadth of his work as a poet of witness,  documentarian, collaborator, performer and more has brought the world to poetry and poetry to the world."
 
His honors include the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Award for service to the arts in South Carolina, a Guggenheim Fellowship for Poetry, the Musgrave Silver Medal for contribution to the Arts in Jamaica, the Poets & Writers Barnes and Noble Writers for Writers Award, and a Pushcart Prize.  He is the founding director of the African Poetry Book Fund and cofounder and programming director of the Calabash International Literary Festival. He is currently the Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner at the University of Nebraska, where he is a Chancellor’s Professor of English.
 
Marie Howe was born in Rochester, New York. She worked as a newspaper reporter and teacher before receiving her MFA from Columbia University in 1983.
 
She is the author of Magdalene (W. W. Norton, 2017), which was long-listed for the National Book Award; The Kingdom of Ordinary Time (W. W. Norton, 2009), which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; What the Living Do (W. W. Norton, 1998); and The Good Thief (Persea Books, 1988), which was selected by Margaret Atwood for the 1987 National Poetry Series.
 
Chancellor Emeritus Jane Hirshfield says Howe “is an iconic poet, both for individual poems and for her books as a whole. Her work seamlessly covers the full spectrum of awareness, encompassing the realms of the spiritual, ethical, erotic, parental, personal, and societal. Her compassion is broad, her moral compass unerring, her hammered-copper craft-sense consummately original, clear, and distinctive.”
 
Her other awards include grants from the Bunting Institute, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She is also the recipient of the 1998 Lavan Younger Poets Award and the 2015 Academy of American Poets Fellowship. She currently teaches at New York University and Sarah Lawrence College.
 
About the Academy of American Poets
 
The Academy of American Poets is the nation’s largest membership-based nonprofit organization championing poets and poetry. The organization produces Poets.org, the world’s largest publicly-funded website for poets and poetry; National Poetry Month; the popular Poem-a-Day series; American Poets magazine; resources for K-12 educators; and an annual series of poetry readings and special events. In addition, since its founding in 1934, the Academy has awarded more money to poets than any other organization through its American Poets Prizes.
 
Contact: Ryan Dzelzkalns, (212) 274-0343, ext. 15, [email protected]