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October 18, 2007The Times CenterFrom the Academy Audio Archive

About this poet

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. 

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The Lost Colony

Susan Stewart, 1952

 

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Susan Stewart

Susan Stewart

Poet and critic Susan Stewart was born in 1952. She received a

by this poet

poem
I am as far as the deepest sky between clouds
and you are as far as the deepest root and wound, 
and I am as far as a train at evening, 
as far as a whistle you can't hear or remember. 
You are as far as an unimagined animal 
who, frightened by everything, never appears. 
I am as far as cicadas and locusts
and
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
Alack Alas

Hammer to a copper bowl,
someone left the light on.
Touch against the thin wrist
skin, and back again, and back 
again. Can't find the vein.


Alack A Day

Stiffing a filigree leaf, ribs 
align in alternity. Drop 
me a line, I am leaving—
the har-dee-har men come soon.
And once they are