Anne Carson was born in Toronto, Ontario, on June 21, 1950. With the help of a high school Latin instructor, she learned ancient Greek, which contributed to her continuing interest in classical and Hellenic literature. She attended St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto and, despite leaving twice, received her BA in 1974, her MA in 1975 and her PhD in 1981. She also studied Greek metrics for a year at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.
Since bursting onto the international poetry scene in 1987 with her long poem “Kinds of Water,” Carson has published numerous books of poetry, including Float (Alfred A. Knopf, 2016); Red Doc> (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013); The Beauty of the Husband: A Fictional Essay in 29 Tangos (Alfred A. Knopf, 2001), winner of the T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry; Autobiography of Red (Alfred A. Knopf, 1998); and Short Talks (Brick Books, 1992).
Also a Classics scholar, Carson is the translator of Electra (Oxford University Press, 2001), If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho (Knopf, 2002), and An Oresteia (Faber and Faber, 2009), among others. She is also the author of Eros the Bittersweet (Princeton University Press, 1986).
Reviewers have praised the range of Carson’s verse, consistently describing her poetry as inventive, visionary, and highly unique. Scholars, such as Roger Gilbert, often discuss the influence of her academic history. Gilbert has noted, “unlike many academic poets she deploys her scholarly voice as a dramatic instrument whose expressive power lies partly in its fragility.”
Her awards and honors include the Lannan Literary Award, the Pushcart Prize, the Griffin Poetry Prize, a Guggenheim fellowship, and the MacArthur Fellowship. She was also the Anna-Maria Kellen Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, Germany.
Carson was the Director of Graduate Studies in Classics at McGill University and taught at Princeton University from 1980–87. She has also taught classical languages and literature at Emory University, California College of the Arts, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Michigan. She currently teaches in New York University’s creative writing program.