Poet James Richardson was raised in Garden City, New York. He earned a BA at Princeton University and a PhD at the University of Virginia.
Richardson’s poems and aphorisms weave paradox, humor, concision, and a nuanced understanding of human engagement. In a starred review of By the Numbers, a Publishers Weekly reviewer notes, “In his poems, Richardson speaks with a world-weary voice that is also at times cautiously optimistic, managing to view the world from intimately personal and omniscient vantage points at the same time.” Richardson’s numerous collections of poetry include National Book Award finalist By the Numbers (2010), National Book Critics Circle Award finalist Interglacial: New and Selected Poems and Aphorisms (2004), Vectors: Aphorisms and Ten-Second Essays (2001), and Reservations (1977). Richardson’s critical writings include Vanishing Lives: Tennyson, Rossetti, Swinburne and Yeats (1988), and Thomas Hardy: The Poetry of Necessity (1977). His work has also been featured in numerous anthologies, including Geary’s Guide to the World’s Great Aphorists (2007, edited by James Geary), American Religious Poems (2006, edited by Harold Bloom), and Great American Prose Poems: Poe to the Present (2003, edited by David Lehman).
His honors include the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Award in Literature; the Poetry Society of America’s Robert H. Winner, Cecil Hemley, and Emily Dickinson Awards; a Pushcart Prize; and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
Richardson has taught at Columbia University, Harvard University, and Princeton University.
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