David Ferry was born in Orange, New Jersey, in 1924. He completed his education at Amherst College and Harvard University, and served as a sergeant in the United States Army Air Force from 1943 to 1946.
Ferry’s books of poetry and translation are Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations (University of Chicago Press, 2012); The Georgics of Virgil (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006); His Epistles of Horace: A Translation (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001); Of No Country I Know: New and Selected Poems and Translations (University of Chicago Press, 1999); The Eclogues of Virgil (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999); The Odes of Horace: A Translation (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998); Dwelling Places: Poems and Translations (University of Chicago Press, 1993); Gilgamesh: A New Rendering in English Verse (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1992); Strangers: A Book of Poems (University of Chicago Press, 1983); On the Way to the Island (Wesleyan University Press, 1960); and The Limits of Mortality: An Essay on Wordsworth’s Major Poems (Wesleyan University Press, 1959).
Ferry was the recipient of the 2012 National Book Award for Bewilderment. Of No Country I Know: New and Selected Poems and Translations won the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, the Bingham Poetry Prize from Boston Book Review, the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry and was a finalist for The New Yorker Book Award and the L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award. Ferry’s other awards include the Sixtieth Fellowship of the Academy of American Poets, the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award, the Teasdale Prize for Poetry, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, the Ingram-Merrill Award, and the William Arrowsmith Translation Prize from AGNI magazine.
In 1998, Ferry was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He held the title of Sophie Chantal Hart Professor Emeritus of English at Wellesley College.
David Ferry died on November 5, 2023.