D. A. Powell
D. A. Powell was born in Albany, Georgia, on May 16, 1963. He attended Sonoma State University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in 1991, and his master’s in 1993. He received his MFA degree from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1996.
Powell is the author of the trilogy of books Cocktails (Graywolf Press, 2004), which was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Lunch (Wesleyan University Press, 2000); and Tea (Wesleyan University Press, 1998). His poetry collection Chronic (Graywolf Press, 2009) received the Kingsley Tufts Award and was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award. His most recent books are Repast: Tea, Lunch, Cocktails (Graywolf Press, 2014) and Useless Landscape, or a Guide for Boys: Poems (Graywolf Press, 2012).
Powell’s subjects range from movies, art, and other trappings of contemporary culture to the AIDS pandemic. Powell’s work often returns to AIDS, and his first three collections have been called a trilogy about the disease. As Carl Phillips wrote, in his judge’s note for Boston Review’s Annual Poetry Award, of Powell’s work,
No fear, here, of heritage nor of music nor, refreshingly, of authority. Mr. Powell recognizes in the contemporary the latest manifestations of a much older tradition: namely, what it is to be human.
Powell has received a Paul Engle Fellowship from the James Michener Center, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Lyric Poetry Award from the Poetry Society of America, among other awards.
Powell has taught at Columbia University, the University of Iowa, Sonoma State University, San Francisco State University, and served as the Briggs-Copeland Lecturer in Poetry at Harvard University. He currently teaches at the University of San Francisco.