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Anne Carson was born in Toronto, Ontario on June 21, 1950. With the help of a high school Latin instructor, she learned ancient Greek, which contributed to her continuing interest in classical and Hellenic literature. She attended St. Michael's College at the University of Toronto and, despite leaving twice, received her B.A. in 1974, her M.A. in 1975 and her Ph.D. in 1981. She also studied Greek metrics for a year at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.
Since bursting onto the international poetry scene in 1987 with her long poem "Kinds of Water," Carson has published numerous books of poetry including Short Talks (Brick Books, 1992); Glass, Irony and God (New Directions, 1995), short listed for the Forward Prize; Plainwater: Essays and Poetry (Knopf, 1996); Autobiography of Red (Knopf, 1998), short listed for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the T.S. Eliot Prize; The Beauty of the Husband: A Fictional Essay in 29 Tangos (Knopf, 2001), winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry; and her most recent, NOX (New Directions, 2010).
Carson is also a Classics scholar, the translator of Electra (Oxford University Press, 2001); If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho (Knopf, 2002); An Oresteia (Faber and Faber, 2009), and the author of Eros the Bittersweet (Princeton University Press, 1986).
Reviewers have praised the range of Carson's verse, consistently describing her poetry as inventive, visionary, and highly unique. Scholars often discuss the influence of her academic history; Roger Gilbert has noted, "unlike many academic poets she deploys her scholarly voice as a dramatic instrument whose expressive power lies partly in its fragility."
Her awards and honors include the Lannan Literary Award, the Pushcart Prize, the Griffin Poetry Prize, a Guggenheim fellowship, and the MacArthur Fellowship. She was also the Anna-Maria Kellen Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, Germany.
Carson was the Director of Graduate Studies in Classics at McGill University and taught at Princeton University from 1980-1987. She has also taught classical languages and literature at Emory University, California College of the Arts, and the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently a Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan.