Cate Marvin was raised in Washington, DC and earned an MFA in poetry from the University of Houston, an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and a PhD in English and comparative literature from the University of Cincinnati. Her poetry collections include World’s Tallest Disaster (2001), which won the Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry, Fragment of the Head of a Queen (2007), and Oracle (2015). Marvin coedited, with Michael Dumanis, the anthology Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century (2006).
Marvin uses her work to explore how English language literary traditions butt up against American English in forms traditional and innovative, narrative and lyrical. Issues of gender and violence are of primary concern throughout her three volumes of poems. As such, she is interested in how American identity collides with the English language, focusing heavily on language play and on the intersection of identity, language, and the natural landscape.
In 2009 Marvin co-founded VIDA: Women in the Literary Arts (with poets Erin Belieu and Ann Townsend), an organization that seeks to “explore critical and cultural perceptions of writing by women” in contemporary culture. Her many honors include the Kate Tufts Discovery Prize (2002), a Whiting Award (2007), and Guggenheim Fellowship (2015). Marvin has taught poetry at Lesley University’s Low-Residency MFA program and is professor of creative writing at the College of Staten Island, CUNY. She will be a visiting professor at Colby College during the 2016-17 academic year.