Arthur Sze

1950 –

Born in New York, New York, in 1950, Arthur Sze is a poet, translator, and editor. He is the author of a dozen books of poetry, including The Glass Constellation: New and Collected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2024); The Glass Constellation (Copper Canyon Press, 2021); Sight Lines (Copper Canyon Press, 2019), which received the 2019 National Book Award in Poetry; Compass Rose (Copper Canyon Press, 2014); and The Ginkgo Light (Copper Canyon Press, 2009). He is also a celebrated translator from the Chinese and released The Silk Dragon: Translations from the Chinese in 2001 and The Silk Dragon II: Translations from the Chinese in 2024, both published by Copper Canyon Press. 

About Sze’s work, Jackson Mac Low has said, “The word ‘compassion’ is much overused—‘clarity’ less so—but Arthur Sze is truly a poet of clarity and compassion.” Naomi Shihab Nye has said,

Arthur Sze’s work has long been a nourishing tonic for the mind—presences of the natural world, wide consciousness, and time, combine in exquisitely shaped and weighted lines and stanzas to create a poetry of deep attunement and lyrical precision. Sze’s ongoing generous exchange with Asian poets and devotion to translation in collections such as The Silk Dragon, enriches the canon of world poetry immeasurably.

Sze’s honors include an American Book Award, a Lannan Literary Award for Poetry, a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award, a Western States Book Award for Translation, three grants from the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry, and fellowships from the George A. and Eliza Gardner Howard Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2013, he was awarded the Jackson Poetry Prize from Poets & Writers magazine. In 2022, he received the Poetry Foundation’s Ruth Lilly Prize.

Sze has served as Visiting Hurst Professor at Washington University, a Doenges Visiting Artist at Mary Baldwin College and has conducted residencies at Brown University, Bard College, and Naropa University. Sze was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017 and served as Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2012 to 2017. He is a professor emeritus at the Institute of American Indian Arts, and was the first poet laureate of Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he lives. In December 2022, Sze served as Guest Editor of the Poem-a-Day series.