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Ronald Wallace

Ronald Wallace was born in 1945 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He received his B.A. from the College of Wooster and his PhD from the University of Michigan.

Wallace is the author of numerous collections of poetry including, Time's Fancy (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1994), which received the Wisconsin Library Association Banta Award, Long for This World: New and Selected Poems (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003), For a Limited Time Only (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008), and The Uses of Adversity (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1998), among others. His critical writing includes, God Be With the Clown: Humor in American Poetry (University of Missouri Press, 1984), The Last Laugh: Form and Affirmation in the Contemporary American Comic Novel (University of Missouri Press, 1979), and Henry James and the Comic Form (University of Michigan Press, 1975). Wallace is also the editor of Vital Signs: Contemporary American Poetry from the University Presses (University of Wisconsin Press, 1989).

Among his honors are the Council for Wisconsin Writers Book Awards, Wisconsin Arts Board Grants, the Helen Bullis Prize, the Wisconsin Library Association Notable Author award, and the Association for Writers and Writing Programs' first George Garrett Award.

Wallace is the founder and Co-Director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Program in Creative Writing, and the founder and editor of the University of Wisconsin Press Poetry Series (the Brittingham and Pollak Prizes). He divides his time between Madison, Wisconsin and a forty-acre farm in Bear Valley, Wisconsin.

By This Poet


Literature in the 21st Century [excerpt]

Sometimes I wish I drank coffee
or smoked Marlboros, or maybe cigars--
yes, a hand-rolled Havana cigar
in its thick, manly wrapping,

. . .

and I'd be writing about war and old losses--
man things--and not where I am, in this
pristine and sensitive vessel, all
fizzy water, reticence, and care, all reduced
fat and purified air, behind my deprived
computer, where I can't manage even
a decaf cap, a mild Tiparillo, a glass of
great-taste-less-filling light beer.