Listen to Four Poet-Scholars This Poetry Month

Courtesy of Princeton University, The Lewis Center for the Arts, and the Department of English.

April is National Poetry Month. To celebrate the importance of poetry at Princeton and beyond, poet-scholars in the Department of English and the Lewis Center for the Arts recited one of their own poems or a passage from one of their favorites and explained what the poem meant to them.


Professor of English Jeff Dolven reads “Bicycle Stanzas,” one of his most recent poems, and discusses some of its themes.

Paul Muldoon, the Howard G.B. Clark ’21 University Professor in the Humanities and professor of creative writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts, reads “Ireland,” a poem he wrote nearly 40 years ago while living in Northern Ireland.

Esther Schor, the Leonard L. Milberg ’53 Professor of American Jewish Studies and professor of English, reads the Walt Whitman poem “A Clear Midnight” and shares its effect on her.


Tracy K. Smith, the Roger S. Berlind ’52 Professor in the Humanities, professor of creative writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts, and the 2017-19 U.S. poet laureate, reads “Second Estrangement,” by Aracelis Girmay, and highlights a few of her favorite elements.

A New Addition!

Find new books, anthologies, journals, chapbooks, and more at the new Bain-Swiggett Poetry Collection when you visit the Department of English. Here’s a sneak peek at the shelves-in-progress:

Lewis Center Names Solmaz Sharif Recipient of Holmes National Poetry Prize

Congratulations to poet Solmaz Sharif, this year’s recipient of the Holmes National Poetry Prize from Princeton’s Lewis Center for the Arts!

The Holmes National Poetry Prize was established in memory of Princeton 1951 alumnus Theodore H. Holmes and is presented each year to a poet of special merit as nominated and selected by the faculty of the Creative Writing Program, which includes writers Jeffrey Eugenides, Jhumpa Lahiri, Yiyun Li, Paul Muldoon, Kirstin Valdez Quade, James Richardson, Tracy K. Smith, and Susan Wheeler. The award currently carries a prize of $5,000, and was first made to Mark Doty in 2011 and has since also been awarded to Evie Shockley, Natalie Diaz Matt Rasmussen, and Eduardo Corral.

Born in Istanbul to Iranian parents, Sharif holds degrees from University of California, Berkeley, where she studied and taught with June Jordan’s Poetry for the People, and New York University. Her work has appeared in The New Republic, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, jubilat, Gulf Coast, Boston Review, Witness, and others. The former managing director of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, her work has been recognized with a “Discovery”/Boston Review Poetry Prize, scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, a winter fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and a Stegner Fellowship. She received a 2014 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, as well as a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship. Sharif is currently a lecturer at Stanford University. Her first poetry collection, Look, published by Graywolf Press in 2016, was a finalist for the National Book Award.