January 12—Tree Swenson, Executive Director of the Academy of American Poets, announced that Marilyn Hacker and Edward Hirsch have been elected to the Board of Chancellors, the Academy's advisory board of distinguished poets. They were elected by current Academy Chancellors Frank Bidart, Victor Hernández Cruz, Rita Dove, Lyn Hejinian, Sharon Olds, Ron Padgett, Carl Phillips, Robert Pinsky, Kay Ryan, Gary Snyder, Gerald Stern, Susan Stewart, Ellen Bryant Voigt, and C. K. Williams.
Marilyn Hacker was born in New York City in 1942. She is the author of several books of poetry, including Essays on Departure: New and Selected Poems 1980–2005 (Carcanet Press, 2006); Desesperanto: Poems 1999–2002 (W. W. Norton, 2003); First Cities: Collected Early Poems 1960–1979 (2003); Winter Numbers (1994), which won the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets and a Lambda Literary Award; and Selected Poems, 1965–1990 (1994), which received the Poets' Prize. She has also received the National Book Award for poetry.
Marilyn Hacker is an esteemed translator of poetry and was recently awarded the first Robert Fagles Translation Prize given by the National Poetry Series for her translation of King of a Hundred Horsemen (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2008) by Marie Étienne. She has translated several other collections of poetry. Hacker was editor of The Kenyon Review from 1990 to 1994. She lives in New York City and Paris.
Academy Chancellor Carl Phillips recently wrote:
"One of the many gifts Hacker has brought to contemporary American poetry is her work's example of how to be mindful of prosodic tradition without compromising radical experiment; likewise, in her hands, lyrical grace is in no way a stranger to political force or sexual candor. No less a gift is her commitment to poetry itself, to new poets especially, and to an insistence on diversity as the most honest expression of what poetry is supposed to do: represent what it is to be a human being in the world."
Edward Hirsch was born in Chicago in 1950 and attended Grinnell College and the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his Ph.D. in folklore. His first collection of poems, For the Sleepwalkers (Knopf, 1981), won the Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets. His second collection, Wild Gratitude (1986), received the National Book Critics Circle Award. Since then, he has published five books of poems, most recently Special Orders (2008). His collection, Living Fire: New and Selected Poems (1975–2010), will be published in 2010.
A well-known advocate for poetry, Hirsch is also the author of four prose books, including Poet's Choice (Harcourt, 2006), which collects his poetry columns from the Washington Post, and How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry (1999), a national bestseller. He is the editor and co-editor of several collections, including the The Making of a Sonnet: A Norton Anthology (W. W. Norton, 2008). He is currently president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
Academy Chancellor Gerald Stern recently said:
"Edward Hirsch's poetry is noted for its tenderness, its simplicity, and its connection to moments of grief. Memories of family members, friends, and of past experiences, mostly in Chicago, powerfully run through the work. Hirsch's criticism is widely popular and known for its ability to cut through complex matters and to make simple and wise observations. He is deeply respected by the poetry community."
For more information about these poets and to read samples of their work, please visit www.poets.org.
The Board of Chancellors was established in 1946 by the Academy's founder, Mrs. Marie Bullock, who stated:
"These men and women must be chosen from amongst literary persons of the highest standing. They must themselves be known for their good judgment and eminent integrity of opinion. They should geographically represent the entire United States, so that their choices will be representative of the nation as a whole, and not of one trend of thought, or literary clique, or section."
The Academy of American Poets' Board of Chancellors elects the recipients of the Wallace Stevens Award and the Academy of American Poets Fellowship. They also act as consultants to the organization on matters of artistic direction and programming and serve as ambassadors of poetry in the world at large. Chancellors of the Academy have included Marianne Moore, W. H. Auden, Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop, John Berryman, Robert Penn Warren, and James Merrill, among others.
About the Academy of American Poets
The Academy of American Poets is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1934 to foster appreciation for contemporary poetry and to support American poets at all stages of their careers. For over three generations, the Academy has connected millions of people to great poetry through programs such as National Poetry Month, the largest literary celebration in the world; Poets.org, the most popular site about poetry on the web, presenting a wealth of great poems, audio recordings, poet biographies, essays, and interactive discussions about poetry; the Poetry Audio Archive, capturing the voices of contemporary American poets for generations to come; American Poet, a biannual literary journal; and an annual series of poetry readings and special events. The Academy also awards prizes to accomplished poets at all stages of their careers—from hundreds of student prizes at colleges nationwide to the Wallace Stevens Award for lifetime achievement in the art of poetry. For more information, visit www.poets.org.