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About this poet

Susan Stewart was born on March 15, 1952. She received a BA in English and anthropology from Dickinson College, an MA in poetics from Johns Hopkins University, and a PhD in folklore from the University of Pennsylvania.

Stewart is the author of several poetry collections, including Cinder: New and Selected Poems (Graywolf Press, 2017); Columbarium (University of Chicago Press, 2003), which received the National Book Critics Circle Award; The Forest (University of Chicago Press, 1995), which received the Literary Award of the Philadelphia Atheneum; The Hive (University of Georgia Press, 1987); and Yellow Stars and Ice (Princeton University Press, 1981).

Her collected essays on art, The Open Studio: Essays in Art and Aesthetics, was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2004. Her other books of criticism include The Poet's Freedom: A Notebook on Making  (University of Chicago Press, 2011); Poetry and the Fate of the Senses (University of Chicago Press, 2002), which received both the 2002 Christian Gauss Award for Literary Criticism from Phi Beta Kappa and the 2004 Truman Capote Award in Literary Criticism; as well as Crimes of Writing: Problems in the Containment of Representation (Oxford University Press, 1991); Nonsense (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989); and On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection (Duke University Press, 1984).

She also cotranslated Euripides' Andromache with Wesley Smith, and the poetry and selected prose of the Scuola Romana painter Scipione with Brunella Antomarini, and collaborated with composer James Primosch on a song cycle commissioned by the Chicago Symphony.

About her work, the poet and critic Allen Grossman writes, "Stewart has built a poetic syntax capable of conveying an utterly singular account of consciousness, by the light of which it is possible to see the structure of the human world with a new clarity and an unforseen precision, possible only in her presence and by means of her art."

Her honors include a Lila Wallace Individual Writer's Award, two grants in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Pew Fellowship for the Arts, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation. She was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2005.

Stewart taught at Temple University in Philadelphia from 1978 to 1997. She is currently a professor of English at Princeton University where she teaches the history of poetry and aesthetics. 

 


Bibliography

Poetry
Cinder: New and Selected Poems (Graywolf Press, 2017)
Red Rover (University of Chicago Press, 2011)
Columbarium (University of Chicago Press, 2003)
The Elements (ELM Press, 2002)
The Forest (University of Chicago Press, 1995)
The Hive (University of Georgia Press, 1987)
Yellow Stars and Ice (Princeton University Press, 1981)

Prose
The Poet's Freedom (University of Chicago Press, 2011)
The Open Studio (University of Chicago Press, 2005)
Poetry and the Fate of the Senses (University of Chicago Press, 2002)
Crimes of Writing (Oxford University Press, 1991)
Nonsense (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989)
On Longing (Duke University Press, 1984)

The Knot

The problem was how to begin with the end
and then it turned out there were two ends:
the end within the continuing
that, continuing, enveloped
the end. You passed yourself
coming and going, went through
one loop, then another,
what was behind drawn
through at a
slide until
it rose
before you, sprung.
Tangle like a bramble,
like a rose. Start,
start again against
the tight-
ening. A knife
could give up
on patience, but you
were born among
the dull and
kind, who wait
for Spring, and
lightening
and lightning.

From Cinder. Copyright © 2017 by Susan Stewart. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Graywolf Press, www.graywolfpress.org.

From Cinder. Copyright © 2017 by Susan Stewart. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Graywolf Press, www.graywolfpress.org.

Susan Stewart

Susan Stewart

Susan Stewart was born in 1952. She is the author of several poetry collections, including Cinder: New and Selected Poems (Graywolf Press, 2017).

by this poet

poem

 

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2
poem
You should lie down now and remember the forest, 
for it is disappearing--
no, the truth is it is gone now 
and so what details you can bring back 
might have a kind of life.

Not the one you had hoped for, but a life
--you should lie down now and remember the forest--
nonetheless, you might call it "in the
poem
As from dark orchard leaves, from quiet scripts
where each shape sends its tendril reaching—
circle and line, the swaddled bud, the petiole 
sprung, an envelope tendered.
					
By a window, the infant 
turns, rooting
toward the breast,
                     sun-lit, 
the mother humming.
(Those far things