Sally Van Doren

Poet and artist Sally Van Doren was born and raised in St. Louis. She earned a BA in comparative literature from Princeton University and received an MFA from the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

Van Doren was awarded the 2007 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets for her first collection of poems, Sex at Noon Taxes, selected by August Kleinzahler, which was published in spring of 2008 by Louisiana State University Press. She is also the author of Sibilance (LSU Press, 2023); Promise (LSU Press, 2017), which features one of her drawings on the cover; and Possessive (LSU Press, 2012).

Van Doren’s other honors include being a semifinalist in the 2006 “Discovery”/The Nation poetry contest. She has also been nominated several times for a Pushcart Prize. 

About Van Doren’s work, Kleinzahler wrote:

There are no dead moments, no fill: even the conjunctions, prepositions and assorted connectives carry a charge. The language is alive. The movement of language is alive. The mind at work here is at all points quick, full of play and bite.

Van Doren has taught creative writing in St. Louis public schools and at the 92nd Street Y in New York, New York. She also curated the Sunday Workshops for the St. Louis Poetry Center. Since 2006, she has added a line a day to her ongoing poem, “The Sense Series,” which served as the text for a multimedia installation at the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis. Her artwork is featured on the cover of The Difference is Spreading: Fifty Contemporary Poets on Fifty Poems (UPenn Press, 2022) and the covers of her two most recent poetry collections, in addition to having been featured in literary magazines, such as the Nashville Review, december magazine, and 2River.  

Van Doren lives and works in Cornwall, Connecticut.