a homely word:
a plosive, a long cry, a quiet stop, a silent letter
like a storm and the end of a storm,
the kind brewing
at the top of a pine,
(torn hair, bowed spirits, and,
later, straightened shoulders)
Poet and critic 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.
She is the author of several collections of poetry, including Columbarium (University of Chicago Press, 2003) which received the National Book Critics Circle Award; The Forest (1995), which received the Literary Award of the Philadelphia Atheneum; The Hive (1987); and Yellow Stars and Ice (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 (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 (1991); Nonsense (1989); and On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection (1984).
She also co-translated 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 has written, "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 Professor of English at Princeton University where she teaches the history of poetry and aesthetics.