Christian Wiman

1966 –

Born on August 31, 1966, in West Texas, poet, editor, and essayist Christian Wiman earned his BA from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, in 1988.

Wiman has authored four books of poetry: Once in the West (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014); Every Riven Thing (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011); Hard Night (Copper Canyon Press, 2005); and The Long Home (Story Line Press, 1998). He has also published a memoir, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013); a collection of Osip Mandelstam translations, Stolen Air (Ecco, 2012); and a collection of essays, Ambition and Survival: On Becoming a Poet (Copper Canyon Press, 2007). He is also an anthologist of several works, including Zero at the Bone: Fifty Entries Against Despair (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2023).

In 2005, on his thirty-ninth birthday, Wiman was diagnosed with Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia, an incurable form of blood cancer. Wiman’s poetry and prose frequently address the disease and his response to it, as well as questions of theology and faith, life and death.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Marilynne Robinson writes,

[Wiman’s] poetry and his scholarship have a purifying urgency that is rare in this world. This puts him at the very source of theology, and enables him to say new things in timeless language, so that the reader’s surprise and assent are one and the same.

A noted essayist and editor, Wiman is also widely known for his tenure as editor of Poetry magazine, from 2003 to 2013.

Wiman’s honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, Ruth Lilly Fellowship, Wallace Stegner Fellowship and an honorary doctorate of humane letters from North Central College.

Wiman has taught at Stanford University, where he served as Jones Lecturer of poetry, Northwestern University, and the Prague School of Economics. He is currently a senior lecturer in religion and literature at Yale University and lives in New Haven, Connecticut.