One of the foremost critics of contemporary, modern, and avant-garde poetry and poetics now writing in English, Marjorie Perloff has published numerous books, articles, and essays on issues ranging from digital poetics to philosophy, and her work has been translated into many languages, including Portuguese, Spanish, Slovenian, German, and French. Her first three books dealt with individual poets—W.B. Yeats, in Rhyme and Meaning in the Poetry of Yeats (1970), The Poetic Art of Robert Lowell (1973), and Frank O’Hara, in Poet Among Painters (1977; new edition 1997). With the publication of The Poetics of Indeterminacy: Rimbaud to Cage (1981), a book that has gone through a number of editions, she began an extensive exploration of avant-garde art movements and their inheritors. Collections such as The Futurist Moment: Avant-Garde, Avant-Guerre, and the Language of Rupture (1986; new edition, 1994), and more than a dozen subsequent books, including Unoriginal Genius: Poetry by Other Means in the New Century (2011), offer probing accounts of the politics and aesthetics of the avant-garde as it has gone through modernist and postmodernist iterations. Radical Artifice: Writing Poetry in the Age of Media (1992) has been used in classrooms studying digital poetics, and 21st Century Modernism (2002) is a manifesto of Modernist Survival. Key interviews with Perloff have been published as Poetics in a New Key (2014).
Perloff’s many other books include works on philosophy, in Wittgenstein’s Ladder (1996); the poetics of sound and recording technologies in The Sound of Poetry/The Poetry of Sound (2009), which she coedited with Craig Dworkin; and the cultural memoir The Vienna Paradox (2004).
Perloff was educated at Oberlin College, Barnard College, and the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. Before her retirement, she was Sadie D. Patek Professor of Humanities at Stanford University. She is also Florence Scott Professor Emerita of English at the University of Southern California. In 2009, she was the Weidenfeld Professor of European Literature at Oxford University, and she was recently was named Honorary Foreign Professor at the Beijing Modern Languages University. She teaches courses and writes on 20th- and 21st-century poetry and poetics, both Anglo-American and from a Comparativist perspective, as well as on intermedia and the visual arts.
She has been a frequent reviewer for periodicals from the Times Literary Supplement and The Washington Post to all the major scholarly journals, and she has lectured at most major universities in the U.S. as well as at European, Asian, and Latin American universities and festivals.
Perloff’s many honors and awards include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Huntington Foundation. She has served on the Advisory Board of the Stanford Humanities Center, and was President of the Modern Language Association in 2006. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. She received an honorary degree from Bard College in 2008, and the Kelly Writers House at the University of Pennsylvania honored her with a special symposium; a varied set of the individual contributions to that 2012 symposium appeared in the online journal Jacket 2.