Colette Inez

1931 –

Colette Inez was born in Brussels, Belgium, on June 23, 1931, to a French archivist and French-American priest. She was raised in a Catholic home for children but was then brought to the United States, to the south shore of Long Island, just before the outbreak of World War II.

In 1961, she graduated with her BA in English literature from Hunter College and began teaching in New York City public schools and in the Poets in the Schools programs. In 1972, Inez published her first book of poetry, The Woman Who Loved Worms (Doubleday & Company), which received the Great Lakes Colleges Association National First Book Award.

Since then, she has published ten additional poetry collections, most recently The Luba Poems (Red Hen Press, 2015), Horseplay (Word Press, 2011), and Spinoza Doesn’t Come Here Anymore (Melville House Books, 2004). She has also published a memoir, The Secret of M. Dulong (University of Wisconsin Press, 2005).

Inez is the recipient of fellowships and prizes from the Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, Poetry Society of America, and the Rockefeller Foundation, among others.

A long-time faculty member in Columbia University’s writing program, Inez also taught at Bucknell University, Colgate University, Cornell University, Denison University, Hunter College, Kalamazoo College, The New School, and Ohio University, among others. In 2015, the annual Academy of American Poets Colette Inez Poetry Prize was introduced, awarded to exceptional poetry students at Bowdoin College, in Brunswick, Maine. Inez died on January 16, 2018.