Ellen Bryant Voigt

Ellen Bryant Voigt was raised on her family’s farm in rural Virginia. She earned her BA from Converse College and her MFA from Iowa Writers’ Workshop. 

Bryant Voigt is the author of nine poetry collections, including Collected Poems (W. W. Norton, 2023); Headwaters (W. W. Norton, 2013); Messenger: New and Selected Poems, 1976–2006 (W. W. Norton, 2007), a finalist for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry; Kyrie (W. W. Norton, 1995), a finalist for the National Book Critic’s Circle Award in 1995; The Lotus Flowers (W. W. Norton, 1987); and her debut, Claiming Kin (Wesleyan University Press, 1976). 

Bryant Voigt has also published two books on the craft of poetry: The Flexible Lyric (University of Georgia Press, 2011) and The Art of Syntax: Rhythm of Thought, Rhythm of Song (Graywolf Press, 2009). With Heather McHugh, Bryant Voigt coedited the anthology Hammer and Blaze: A Gathering of Contemporary American Poets (University of Georgia Press, 2002). With Gregory Orr, she coedited the essay collection Poets Teaching Poets: Self and the World (University of Michigan Press, 1996), a volume to which she also contributed. 

Bryant Voigt’s other honors include the Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Folger Shakespeare Library’s O. B. Hardison Jr. Poetry Prize, and fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Academy of American Poets, and the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund. In 2015, she received a MacArthur Fellowship. 

Bryant Voigt cofounded and directed Goddard College’s low-residency MFA program—the first of its kind, which set the standard for the low-residency program of graduate study throughout the United States. She has taught in the MFA program for writers at Warren Wilson College since 1981, in addition to teaching appointments at Iowa Wesleyan College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 2013, Bryant Voigt was the visiting poet at Smith College. Voigt was the poet laureate of Vermont from 1999 to 2002 and served as a Chancellor for the Academy of American Poets. She lives in Vermont.