New York, NY (January 15, 2015)—The Academy of American Poets announced today that Elizabeth Alexander, Linda Gregerson, and Alicia Suskin Ostriker have been elected Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets, an honorary position that has been held by some of the most distinguished poets in the United States, including W. H. Auden, John Ashbery, Elizabeth Bishop, Lucille Clifton, Yusef Komunyakaa, Adrienne Rich, and Mark Strand.

As members of the Board of Chancellors, Alexander, Gregerson, and Ostriker will consult with the organization on matters of artistic programming, serve as judges for the organization’s largest prizes for poets, and act as ambassadors of poetry in the world at large. The new Chancellors were selected by the fifteen members of the Academy’s current Board of Chancellors, and each will serve for a period of six years. They will fill the seats vacated by Edward Hirsch, Marilyn Hacker, and Marie Ponsot, whose terms as Chancellors have concluded.

Elizabeth Alexander was born in Harlem, New York, in 1962 and grew up in Washington, D.C. Alexander is the author of several collections of poetry, including her latest, Crave Radiance: New and Selected Poems 1990­–2010 (Graywolf Press, 2010), and American Sublime (Graywolf Press, 2005), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. In addition to her poetry, she has also published short stories, critical essays, and a verse play. Her awards include the Jackson Poetry Prize from Poets & Writers, Inc., the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at the University of Chicago, and the George Kent Award, given by Gwendolyn Brooks. Alexander has taught at many universities, and she was the first director of the Poetry Center at Smith College. She is a member of the founding editorial collective for the feminist journal Meridians. She recited “Praise Song for the Day,” which she composed for the occasion, at President Obama’s first Presidential Inauguration. Alexander is currently the Thomas E. Donnelley Professor of African American Studies and American Studies at Yale University. In January 2015, she was named the inaugural Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale. She holds a PhD in English from the University of Pennsylvania.

About Alexander’s poetry, Rita Dove writes, “The poems bristle with the irresistible quality of a world seen fresh,” and Clarence Major notes Alexander’s “instinct for turning her profound cultural vision into one that illuminates universal experience.”

Linda Gregerson was born in Elgin, Illinois in 1950. She is the author of several collections of poetry, including her latest, The Selvage (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012); Magnetic North (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2007), which was a National Book Award finalist; and Waterborne (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002), winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. She has also authored two books of literary criticism. Her awards and honors include the Levinson Prize from Poetry magazine and the Consuelo Ford Award from the Poetry Society of America, among others. Gregerson teaches American poetry and Renaissance literature at the University of Michigan, where she also directs the MFA program in creative writing. She holds a PhD from Stanford University.

About Gregerson’s work, the poet Rosanna Warren writes, “Tender and harrowing, jagged, severely precise and floodlit with compassion, Linda Gregerson’s poems break and mend poetic language as they break and mend the heart.”

Alicia Suskin Ostriker was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1937. She is the author of more than ten collections of poetry, including her latest, The Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2014); The Crack in Everything (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1996), which was a National Book Award finalist; and The Imaginary Lover (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1986), winner of the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. She has also authored numerous books of literary criticism. She is Professor Emerita of the Rutgers University English Department and a faculty member of the Drew University Low-Residency Poetry MFA Program. Ostriker holds a PhD in literature from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

About Ostriker, the author Joyce Carol Oates writes, “[She] has become one of those brilliantly provocative and imaginatively gifted contemporaries whose iconoclastic expression, whether in prose or poetry, is essential to our understanding of our American selves.”

About the Academy of American Poets

The Academy of American Poets is the largest member-supported nonprofit organization fostering an appreciation for contemporary poetry and supporting American poets. The organization produces, the world’s largest publicly-funded website for poets and poetry; National Poetry Month; American Poets magazine; and an annual series of poetry readings and special events. In addition, since its founding in 1934, the Academy has awarded more money to poets than any other organization through its American Poets Prizes.