Born in Port Antonio, Jamaica, poet Ishion Hutchinson earned a BA at the University of the West Indies, an MFA at New York University, and a PhD at the University of Utah.
Hutchinson’s narrative poems interrogate landscape, measuring the elusive weight of colonial history. Reviewing Far District for the Huffington Post in 2010, poet Carol Muske-Dukes notes that as readers of the collection “[w]e are here to reinvestigate origins,” observing that “Ishion Hutchinson moves in and out of 'borders,' geographical and emotional - and in and out of traditions (singing to Claude McKay) so gracefully that at times the reader has to remind herself of dark intent, which is undeniably here.” In a 2013 interview with Sarah Sansolo for American University’s Creative Writing Program’s blog Café Americain, Hutchinson discussed the concerns of his newer work, stating, “The landscapes in some of the newer poems are less autobiographical, less from the backhand of retrospect, I guess, and more a shifting concatenation of landscapes not yet arrived at. I think this is a result of reading rather than actual travel; I have been crisscrossing centuries, different existences, the rhythm and mode of other places and now it is has woven a basket in my head. I am pulling the straws from that.”
He is the author of two collections of poetry: Far District (2010), winner of the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award, and House of Lords and Commons (2016), winner of the National Books Critics Circle award. Hutchinson’s additional honors include a Whiting Writers’ Award and the Academy of American Poets’ Larry Levis Prize. Most recently, in 2017, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. A Pirogue Fellow, Hutchinson teaches at Cornell University.