Liam Rector

1949–2007

Founder and director of the Graduate Writing Seminars at Bennington College, poet Liam Rector attended a number of colleges as an undergraduate without completing a degree. He eventually earned an MA from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and an MA from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

His poetry collections include The Sorrow of Architecture (1984), American Prodigal (1994), and The Executive Director of the Fallen World (2006). Rector, who died in 2007, suffered from ill health near the end of his life, and the voice in The Executive Director of the Fallen World wryly assesses the human condition, delving into memory and addressing illness with honesty. In the Boston Review, Robert Schnall commented, “Rector’s hard-won insight and incandescent gallows humor lighten the way, intermixing pathos with practical wisdom, tragedy with relentless sass.”

Active in arts organizations, Rector was an administrator for literary programs at the Associated Writing Programs (now the Association of Writers & Writing Programs), the National Endowment for the Arts, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the Academy of American Poets.

He was married to Tree Swenson, the executive director of the Academy of American Poets, at the time of his death.

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Poet Categorization

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

LIFE SPAN 1949–2007

Biography

Founder and director of the Graduate Writing Seminars at Bennington College, poet Liam Rector attended a number of colleges as an undergraduate without completing a degree. He eventually earned an MA from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and an MA from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. His poetry collections include The Sorrow of Architecture (1984), American Prodigal (1994), and The . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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