Poet and writer Ben Downing was educated at Harvard University and Columbia University. His poetry and prose have been widely published in journals such as the Paris Review, the Nation, and AGNI. Downing’s critical essays focus on 19th- and 20th-century British life and literature, with an emphasis on travel writing. He is the author of the poetry collection The Calligraphy Shop (2003) and the biography Queen Bee of Tuscany: The Redoubtable Janet Ross (2013). Downing is coeditor of Parnassus: Poetry in Review and has taught literary seminars at Columbia, Bryn Mawr, and the 92nd Street Y. He currently runs the English Salon, a series of private classes for non-native English speakers. He lives in New York City.