Strangest of Theatres: Essayists and Contributors

Kazim Ali, associate professor of creative writing and comparative literature at Oberlin College, is the author of numerous books of poetry, fiction, and essays, including most recently Orange Alert: Essays on Poetry, Art, and the Architecture of Silence(University of Michigan Press) and the cross-genre poetic memoir Bright Felon: Autobiography and Cities (Wesleyan University Press). He has translated volumes of poetry by Ananda Devi and Sohrab Sepehri and is founding editor of the small press Nightboat Books.

Elizabeth Austen is the author of Every Dress a Decision (Blue Begonia Press), The Girl Who Goes Alone (Floating Bridge Press), and Where Currents Meet (one of four winners of the 2010 Toadlily Press chapbook award and part of the quartetSightline). Her poems have been featured on Verse Daily and Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac. She was the Washington State Roadshow poet and is the literary producer for KUOW 94.9 public radio in Seattle.

Catherine Barnett is the author of two collections of poems, Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced (Alice James Books) and The Game of Boxes (Graywolf Press). She has received the 2012 James Laughlin Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers' Award, a Glasgow Prize for Emerging Writers, and a Pushcart Prize. Her poems have appeared in the American Poetry Review, the Kenyon Review, Pleiades, TriQuarterly, Virginia Quarterly Review, the Washington Post, and other publications. She works as an independent editor and teaches at Barnard College, the New School, and New York University.

Ashley Brown (1923-2011) was professor emeritus in English and comparative literature at the University of South Carolina. He was founder of the literary magazine Shenandoah and a confidant of novelist Flannery O'Connor and poet Elizabeth Bishop.

Derick Burleson's most recent book of poems is Melt (Marick Press). His first two collections of poems are Never Night (Marick Press) and Ejo: Poems, Rwanda, 1991-1994 (University of Wisconsin Press). His poems have appeared in the Georgia Review, the Kenyon Review, the Paris Review, the Southern Review, and Poetry, among other journals. Burleson directs the MFA program in creative writing at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and lives in Two Rivers, Alaska.

Katharine Coles's fifth poetry collection, Reckless, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press; she has also published novels and essays. She is a professor at the University of Utah, where she codirects the Utah Symposium in Science and Literature. In 2010, she traveled to Antarctica on a grant from the National Science Foundation's Antarctic Artists and Writers Program. In 2009 and 2010, she served as the inaugural director of the Poetry Foundation's Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute.

Gregory Dunne is the author of two collections of poetry: Home Test (Adastra Press) and Fistful of Lotus. His nonfiction book,Quiet Accomplishment, A Remembrance of Cid Corman, is forthcoming from Ekstasis Editions. His poetry and prose have appeared in numerous magazines, including the American Poetry Review, Manoa, Poetry East, and Kyoto Journal. He lives in Japan and teaches in the Faculty of Comparative Culture at Miyazaki International College.

Karen Finneyfrock's second book of poems, Ceremony for the Choking Ghost, was released by Write Bloody Publishing. Her young-adult novel, Celia, the Dark and Weird, is due from Viking Children's Books, a division of Penguin. A member of four National Poetry Slam teams, she has toured nationally and internationally as a spoken-word artist.

Nick Flynn has worked as a ship's captain, an electrician, and a caseworker with homeless adults. His most recent book is The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands (Graywolf Press). His poems, essays, and nonfiction have appeared in various venues, including the New Yorker, the Paris Review, National Public Radio's This American Life, and the New York Times Book Review. A professor in the creative writing program at the University of Houston, he teaches each spring then spends the rest of the year in (or near) Brooklyn, New York.

Carolyn Forché directs the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice and is the Lannan Visiting Professor of Poetry at Georgetown University. Her fifth collection of poems, In the Lateness of the World, is forthcoming from HarperCollins. Her bookThe Country Between Us (Harper Perennial) received the Poetry Society of America's Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award and was a Lamont Poetry Selection of the Academy of American Poets. Her honors include a Lannan Literary Award in Poetry and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Rachel Galvin earned a PhD in comparative literature at Princeton University and has recently joined the Humanities Center at The John Hopkins University as a Mellon Fellow. Her essays appear in The Blackwell Companion to Translation Studies, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and the Wallace Stevens Journal, and poems and translations appear in the New Yorker, McSweeney's, and PN Review. A book of poems, Pulleys & Locomotion, was published by Black Lawrence Press, and her translation of Hitting the Streets by Raymond Queneau is forthcoming (Carcanet Press).

Kathleen Graber is the author of two collections of poems: Correspondence (Saturnalia) and The Eternal City (Princeton University Press), which was the finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Rona Jaffe Foundation. An assistant professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University, Graber also teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Farleigh Dickinson University.

Garth Greenwell's first book, Mitko, won the 2010 Miami University Press Novella Prize. His poetry has appeared in the Yale Review, Boston Review, Poetry International,and Gulf Coast, among other journals, and has received the Grolier Prize, the Rella Lossy Poetry Award, and the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize. Greenwell lives in Sofia, Bulgaria, where he teaches at the American College of Sofia, an independent secondary school.

Eliza Griswold received the 2011 J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize for her New York Times best seller The Tenth Parallel and a 2010 Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome for her poetry. Having won awards for both her nonfiction and her poems, she is currently a senior fellow at the New America Foundation. A former Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, she reports on religion, conflict, and human rights. Her first book of poems, Wideawake Field, and The Tenth Parallel, an examination of Christianity and Islam in Africa and Asia, were published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Her reportage and poetry have appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, the New York Times Magazine, Harpers, the New Republic, and many other publications.

Jared Hawkley is a poet and freelance editor from Vancouver, British Columbia. He's been a contributing editor to The Best American Nonrequired Reading (Mariner Books); Blue Collar, White Collar, No Collar (Harper Perennial); and books of student writing for the education nonprofit 826michigan, including Don't Stay Up So Late: A Treasury of Bedtime Stories. He has written for newspapers and blogs, designed record jackets, led hikes up fourteeners in Rocky Mountain National Park, and given dogsled tours in the northern woods of Minnesota. He lives in Oakland, California.

Jane Hirshfield is the author of seven poetry collections, most recently Come, Thief (Knopf). Given Sugar, Given Salt (Harper Perennial) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Lay ordained in Soto Zen in 1979, she is a current chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. The Ink Dark Moon (Vintage) is her cotranslation of the work of Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu, two classical-era Japanese women poets.

Ilya Kaminsky is the director of the Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute at the Poetry Foundation. He is the author of Dancing in Odessa (Tupelo Press) and coeditor of The Ecco Anthology of International Poetry.

Yusef Komunyakaa is the author of numerous books of poetry, most recently The Chameleon Couch (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), which was a finalist for the 2011 National Book Award. He has received multiple fellowships, and his awards include the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and the Pulitzer Prize. In addition to poetry, Komunyakaa is the author of several plays, performance literature, and libretti, which have been performed in venues that include the 92nd Street Y, Opera Omaha, and Sydney Opera House. He currently teaches in New York University's graduate creative writing program.

Adrie Kusserow is a professor of cultural anthropology at Saint Michael's College in Vermont. She works with the Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy and Africa ELI: Education and Leadership Initiative (Bridging Gender Gaps Through Education) in South Sudan. She has written two books of poetry: Hunting Down the Monk (BOA Editions, A. Poulin, Jr. New Poets of America Series) and Refuge (American Poets Consortium), also from BOA Editions.

Denise Levertov (1923-1997) was a British-born American poet who published more than twenty books of poetry, criticism, and translations. Among her many awards and honors are a Shelley Memorial Award, a Robert Frost Medal, a Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, a Lannan Literary Award in Poetry, a Catherine Luck Memorial Grant, a grant from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. From 1982 to 1993 she taught at Stanford University. She spent the last decade of her life in Seattle.

Philip Levine was named the eighteenth US poet laureate by the Library of Congress in 2011. His most recent book of poetry isNews of the World (Knopf). His awards include the Pulitzer Prize for The Simple Truth (Knopf), two National Book Awards, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, two Guggenheim Fellowships, and the Harriet Monroe Memorial Prize. He was born and raised in Detroit and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, and Fresno, California.

Brandon Lussier's poems and translations have been published in the Harvard Review, the Virginia Quarterly Review, theColumbia Review, and elsewhere. His translation work has been anthologized in New European Poets (Graywolf Press) and A Sharp Cut: Contemporary Estonian Literature and was reviewed in Boston Review. He has spoken about literary translation at Princeton University and the American Literary Translators Association and is a former creative writing Fulbright Scholar and the recipient of a Javits Fellowship in poetry. Lussier is a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow in literary translation and the assistant director of International Programs at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.

Sandra Meek is the author of four books of poems: Road Scatter (Persea Books); Biogeography, winner of the Dorset Prize (Tupelo Press); Burn (Elixir Press); and Nomadic Foundations (Elixir Press). She also edited Deep Travel: Contemporary American Poets Abroad (Ninebark Press). Meek served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Manyana, Botswana, from 1989 to 1991. Recipient of a 2011 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry, she is director of the Georgia Poetry Circuit, poetry editor of the Phi Kappa Phi Forum, a cofounding editor of Ninebark Press, and a professor of English, rhetoric, and writing at Berry College.

W.S. Merwin was the seventeenth poet laureate of the United States. He is the author of more than fifty books of poetry, prose, and translations. His most recent awards include the National Book Award for Migration: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press) and the Pulitzer Prize for The Shadow of Sirius (Copper Canyon). Past honors include the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Shelley Memorial Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Rockefeller Foundation. He lives in Hawaii and is dedicated to restoring the islands' rainforests.

Aimee Nezhukumatahil is the author of three poetry books, most recently Lucky Fish (Tupelo Press), winner of the Hofer Grand Prize and the gold medal in poetry from the Independent Publisher Book Awards. Other awards for her writing include a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Pushcart Prize. She is an associate professor of English at SUNY Fredonia.

Naomi Shihab Nye has received a Lannan Literary Fellowship in Poetry, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress, and four Pushcart Prizes. Her collection 19 Varieties of Gazelle : Poems of the Middle East(Greenwillow Books) was a finalist for the National Book Award, and her collection Honeybee (Greenwillow Books) was awarded the Arab-American Book Award. She is currently serving as a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. She has edited several poetry anthologies, including Time You Let Me In (Greenwillow Books), What Have You Lost? (Greenwillow Books),Salting the Ocean (Greenwillow Books), and This Same Sky (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers), and she is the author of the novels Habibi (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers) and Going, Going (Greenwillow Books). She lives with her family in San Antonio, Texas.

Jacquelyn Pope's first collection of poems, Watermark, was published by Marsh Hawk Press. Her poems have appeared in various journals, including Poetry, the New Republic, Gulf Coast, FIELD,and the Southern Review. Her translations from Dutch and Afrikaans have been published in journals in the United States and abroad and have been featured on the Poetry Dailywebsite. Pope has received the José Marti Prize and awards from the Academy of American Poets and the Massachusetts Cultural Council for her work.

Claudia Rankine is the author of four collections of poetry, including Don't Let Me Be Lonely (Graywolf Press), and the playsProvenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue (commissioned by the Foundry Theatre) and Existing Conditions (coauthored with Casey Llewellyn). Rankine is also coeditor of American Women Poets in the 21ST Century: Where Lyric Meets Language(Wesleyan University Press). She writes and directs the Situation videos in collaboration with John Lucas and organizes the Open Letter Project. A recipient of fellowships from the Academy of American Poets and the National Endowment for the Arts, she is the Henry G. Lee Professor of English at Pomona College.

Srikanth Reddy is the author of two books of poetry—Facts for Visitors and Voyager (both from University of California Press)—and a critical study, Changing Subjects: Digressions in Modern American Poetry (Oxford University Press). A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the doctoral program in English at Harvard University, Reddy is currently an assistant professor of English and creative writing at the University of Chicago.

Susan Rich has traveled to Bosnia and Herzegovina, South Africa, and the West Bank as a human rights activist and an electoral supervisor. She has worked as a Peace Corps volunteer and a program coordinator for Amnesty International and now teaches English and film studies at Highline Community College outside Seattle. She is the author of three collections of poetry: The Alchemist's Kitchen, named a finalist for the ForeWord's Book of the Year Award; Cures Include Travel; and The Cartographer's Tongue: Poems of the World, winner of the PEN USA Award for Poetry, all published by White Pine Press. Rich has received awards from the Times Literary Supplement of London and Peace Corps Writers and a Fulbright Fellowship.

Emily Ruch was raised in the mountains of southern New Mexico. Her formal education has been diverse and includes fine arts, interior design, and ranch management. She graduated from the Evergreen State College with a focus in writing. Her work has been published in Crab Creek Review, and she was a finalist in the annual Winning Writers War Poetry Contest in 2010. As an Army mechanic, she served in South Korea and deployed twice to Iraq. She currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Donna Stonecipher is the author of three volumes of poetry: The Reservoir (University of Georgia Press), Souvenir de Constantinople (Instance Press), and The Cosmopolitan (Coffee House Press), which won the 2007 National Poetry Series. She also translates from French and German; her translation of Ludwig Hohl's novella Ascent will appear from Black Square Editions. She currently lives in Berlin, Germany.

Brian Turner is the author of Here, Bullet and Phantom Noise (both from Alice James Books). He received a USA Hillcrest Fellowship in Literature, a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship in Poetry, an Amy Lowell Travelling Scholarship, a Japan-United States Friendship Commission Grant, a Poets' Prize, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship in Poetry. His work has appeared on National Public Radio, the BBC, the PBS NewsHour, and Weekend America, among other networks and programs. He is the director of the low-residency MFA program at Sierra Nevada College.

Alissa Valles is the author of the poetry collections Orphan Fire (Four Way Books) and Doctor Salvage (forthcoming). She studied at the University College London School of Slavonic and East European Studies and at universities in Russia, Poland, and the United States. She has worked for the BBC Russian Service, the Dutch Institute for War Documentation in Amsterdam, and the Jewish Historical Institute and La Strada International, an anti-human-trafficking group, in Warsaw. She now lives and works in the Bay Area as an independent writer, editor, and translator, most recently of the work of Polish poet Zbigniew Herbert.

Derek Walcott is a Saint Lucian poet and playwright. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992. His latest book of poetry,White Egrets (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), was awarded the T.S. Eliot Prize, though he is best known for the Homeric epic poemOmeros (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). His honors include a MacArthur Foundation "genius" Fellowship, a Royal Society of Literature Award, a Eugenio Montale Prize, and Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. He resides in Saint Lucia.

Katharine Whitcomb is the author of three collections of poems: Saints of South Dakota and Other Poems, chosen by Lucia Perillo as the winner of the 2000 Bluestem Award; Hosannas (Parallel Press); and Lamp of Letters (Floating Bridge Press). Her awards include a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University and fellowships to the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and the Prague Summer Seminars.

Charles Wright's most recent collection of poetry is Bye-and-Bye: Selected Late Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). His bookCountry Music: Selected Early Poems (Wesleyan University Press) won the National Book Award, and Black Zodiac (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) won the Pulitzer Prize. Other honors include the PEN Translation Prize, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award of Merit medal, and the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. He is recently retired from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

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