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Steve Bellin-Oka grew up in Baltimore and earned his BA in English from the University of Maryland, an MA in Biblical languages and literature from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, an MFA from the University of Virginia, and his PhD in English literature and creative writing from the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers.
Bellin-Oka’s first book of poems, Instructions for Seeing a Ghost (University of North Texas Press, 2020), won the 2019 Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry. He is also the author of five chapbooks and pamphlets, including Tell Me Exactly What You Saw and What You Think It Means (SCE Press, 2021), winner of the 2020 Blue Mountain Review LGBTQ Chapbook Contest, and Proviso (Paper Machine Press, 2021), a text/image collaboration with the painter Kristen Tomecek.
Bellin-Oka’s work has earned him fellowships from Yaddo, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Crosstown Arts Center, among other foundations. He has also been a translation scholar at the Bread Loaf Translators’ Conference.
Bellin-Oka has taught poetry writing and literature at Ripon College, the University of Mississippi, and St. Norbert College. In 2019, he was named the second Poets in Parks artist-in-residence. He also currently serves as an editor for various publications, including The Bookends Review and Nimrod International Journal. Bellin-Oka lives in Tulsa, where he is currently a Tulsa Artist Fellow in poetry and translation and a research fellow at the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities. In November 2023, Bellin-Oka will serve as Guest Editor of the Poem-a-Day series.