Kay Ryan, United States Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner, was born in California in 1945 and grew up in the small towns of the San Joaquin Valley and the Mojave Desert. She received both a bachelor's and master's degree from UCLA. Since 1971, she has lived in Marin County in Northern California.
Ryan has published several collections of poetry, including The Niagara River (Grove Press, 2005); Say Uncle (2000); Elephant Rocks (1996); Flamingo Watching (1994), which was a finalist for both the Lamont Poetry Selection and the Lenore Marshall Prize; Strangely Marked Metal (1985); and Dragon Acts to Dragon Ends (1983). A re-issue of her 2002 collection, Believe It or Not!, poems inspired by stories from the newspaper cartoon Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, has recently been re-released and re-titled as The Jam Jar Lifeboat & Other Novelties Exposed, (Red Berry Editions 2008). Ryan’s first European collection, Odd Blocks: Selected and New Poems was published in England in August 2011. Her most recent collection, The Best of It: New and Selected Poems, was nominated for the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in April, 2011.
Ryan’s awards include the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, a Guggenheim fellowship, an Ingram Merrill Award, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Union League Poetry Prize, the Maurice English Poetry Award, four Pushcart Prizes, and the MacArthur “Genius” Award. Her work has been selected four times for The Best American Poetry and was included in The Best of the Best American Poetry 1988-1997. Ryan’s poems and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Poetry, The Yale Review, Paris Review, The American Scholar, The Threepenny Review, Parnassus, among other journals and anthologies. Ryan was elected a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets in 2006. In 2008, Ryan was appointed the Library of Congress’s sixteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry.
In 2004 Fred Chappell retired after 40 years of teaching English and American literature, film, and creative writing at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. For his teaching, he received the O. Max Gardner Award for best teacher in the 16-university state system. During his tenure there, he published approximately thirty books of fiction, poetry, and critical commentary, for which he was given numerous prizes, including the North Carolina Award in Literature, the T.S. Eliot Prize of the Ingersoll Foundation, the Bollingen Prize iin Poetry from Yale University, and the Thomas Wolfe Award. From 1997 through 2002 he served as Poetry Laureate of his native state, visiting more than 250 venues, including churches, high schools and middle schools, retirement homes, colleges and universities.
Anne Stevenson, born in England of American parents in1933, is widely recognized as an eminent Anglo-American poet. Her many books of poetry and criticism include a collected Poems 1955–2005, which, in 2007, won her the Neglected Master’s Award from The Poetry Society of America and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Lannan Foundation. She is the author of two critical studies of Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry and an important biography of Sylvia Plath. Her fourteenth collection of poems, Stone Milk, appeared in 2007. At West Chester she will mainly be reading from her Selected Poems (2008) edited for the Library of American by Andrew Motion, and from an unpublished collection, Astonishment, due out in 2012.
Anne Stevenson lives in Durham, England, and in the mountains of North Wales with her husband, Peter Lucas, and with periodic visits from her three children and six grandchildren.
Micheal O'Siadhail is a poet. Among thirteen collections are Tongues (2010), Globe (2007), Love Life (2005), The Gossamer Wall: Poems in Witness to the Holocaust (2002) and Poems 1975-1995 (1995). He was awarded an Irish American Cultural Institute (1982), a Toonder prize (1998) and short-listed for Wingate Jewish Quarterly Prize (2003).
His poem cycles The Naked Flame, Summerfest, Earlsfort Suite and Dublin Spring were commissioned and set to music for performance and broadcasting. He has read and broadcast his poetry widely in Ireland, Britain, Europe and North America and Japan. Recently he wrote the lyrics for At Night a Song is with Me A Cycle of Ballads & Psalms For Singers, Rhythm Section & Orchestra composed by Rob Mathes.
O’Siadhail has been lecturer (Trinity College Dublin), professor (Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies). Academic works include Learning Irish (Yale University Press.) and Modern Irish (Cambridge University Press.) Former member of Arts Council of the Republic of Ireland (1988-93), founder member of Aosdána (Academy of distinguished Irish artists), former editor of Poetry Ireland Review, founding chairman Ireland Literature Exchange. Among several studies of his work is a book of critical essays Musics of Belonging The Poetry of Micheal O’Siadhail (ed. Marc Caball and David F. Ford) was recently published by Carysfort Press.
David Yezzi is a founding member of San Francisco’s Thick Description theater company. His verse plays One the Rocks and Dirty Dan & Other Travesties were recently produced by Verse Theater Manhattan at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York, and his libretto for David Conte’s opera Firebird Motel premiered in San Francisco and was released on CD in 2007. A former Stegner Fellow in poetry at Stanford University, his most recent book, Azores (2008), was a Slate magazine best book of the year. As an actor, he has appeared in productions of Brecht, Shakespeare, Shaw, Goethe, Williams, and Molière, both in the United States and in Europe. He received a BFA in acting from Carnegie Mellon’s conservatory theater program, where he received the Thomas Auclair Memorial Award, and an MFA in poetry from Columbia University, where he received the Thesis Prize, awarded by Jorie Graham. He teaches in the Poetry Center Writing Program at the 92nd Street Y in New York and in the low-residency MFA program at Western State College in Colorado. He is executive editor of The New Criterion magazine in New York.
Poet Natasha Trethewey was born in Gulfport, Mississippi. Her first poetry collection, Domestic Work (Graywolf Press, 2000), won the inaugural 1999 Cave Canem poetry prize (selected by Rita Dove), a 2001 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize, and the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for Poetry. Her second collection, Bellocq's Ophelia (Graywolf, 2002), received the 2003 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize, was a finalist for both the Academy of American Poets' James Laughlin and Lenore Marshall prizes, and was named a 2003 Notable Book by the American Library Association. Her work has appeared in The Best American Poetry 2003 and 2000, and in journals such as Agni, American Poetry Review, Callaloo, Gettysburg Review, Kenyon Review, New England Review, and The Southern Review, among others. She has a B.A. in English from the University of Georgia, an M.A. in English and Creative Writing from Hollins University, and an M.F.A in poetry from the University of Massachusetts. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
She has taught at Auburn University, the University of North Carolina--Chapel Hill, and Duke University where she was the 2005-2006 Lehman Brady Joint Chair Professor of Documentary and American Studies.
Her most recent collection is Native Guard (Houghton Mifflin 2006), for which she won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. She is the recipient of the 2008 Mississippi Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts for Poetry and was also named the 2008 Georgia Woman of the Year.
A.E. Stallings studied Classics at the University of Georgia and at Oxford University. She has published two volumes of poetry, Archaic Smile, which received the 1999 Richard Wilbur Award, and Hapax, which received the 2008 Poets' Prize. She has also received the 2008 Benjamin H. Danks award from the American Academy of Arts and Lettes. Her work has twice apeared in The Best American Poetry series and is widely anthologized. Her verse translation (in rhyming couplets!) of Lucretius, The Nature of Things, is out from Penguin Classics. She recently received an NEA translation grant for work on the Medieval Cretan Epic, The Erotokritos, a touchstone of modern Greek literature. Stallings has lived in Athens, Greece since 1999.
X.J. Kennedy is one of America's most distinguished poets and anthologists, and the author of several books of children's verse. His first book, Nude Descending a Staircase, received the Lamont Award of the Academy of American Poets. He has also received the Los Angeles Book Award for poetry for Cross Ties: Selected Poems. His numerous honors include the Aiken-Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry, Guggenheim and National Arts Council fellowships, the first Michael Braude Award for light verse, the Shelley Memorial Award, and the Golden Rose of the New England Poetry Club. He has also received the National Council of Teachers of English Award for Excellence in Children's Poetry (2000), and most recently the 2004 Poets' Prize for The Lords of Misrule: Poems 1992-2002. The X.J. and his wife, Dorothy live in Lexington, Massachusetts.
Rhina P. Espaillat has published six full-length books and three chapbooks. She is the recipient of the T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry, the Wilbur Award, the Nemerov Prize, three of the yearly awards given by the Poetry Society of America, and the “Tree at My Window” Award from the Robert Frost Foundation. In addition to her poems, short stories and essays in English, Espaillat writes in her native Spanish, and has published translations in both languages, notably of Robert Frost and Saint John of the Cross. In 2004 she was among the winners of the Salome Urena de Henriquez Award for service to Dominican culture and education. Her next book-a bilingual collection of short stories-is due for publication this April by the Dominican Center for Bibliographical Studies, Inc.
David Mason's books of poems include The Buried Houses, The Country I Remember, and Arrivals. His essays, The Poetry of Life and the Life of Poetry, appeared in 2000. He has also co-edited several textbooks and anthologies, including Western Wind, with John Frederick Nims, Twentieth Century American Poetry, and Twentieth Century American Poetics: Poets on the Art of Poetry, with Dana Gioia and Meg Schoerke. Mason teaches at the Colorado College and lives in the mountains outside Colorado Springs with his wife, photographer Annie Lennox.