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.

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.

BreakBeat Poetry at Princeton

The editors and authors of The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop recently made history with the first poetry anthology by and for the Hip-Hop generation, celebrating a break with the past and an honoring of the tradition(s) and creating an undeniable body, expanding the canon for the fresher.

On Friday, Sept. 23, Morgan Parker, Nate Marshall, Kevin Coval, & Angel Nafis will be on campus to lead an exploratory and interactive workshop, followed by a discussion. The events will take place from 6-8pm at Carl A. Fields Center 105, and 8-9pm at Carl A. Fields Center 104 respectively.

Learn more about the project at


Monica Youn’s Blackacre Longlisted for National Book Award

This week, Monica Youn’s Blackacre (Graywolf) was longlisted for a National Book Award. It is Youn’s third collection of poetry and follows the National Book Award finalist Ignatz. Known for her sparse yet powerful selection of individual words, Youn merges her legal acumen with the lyrical force in Blackacre–which takes its title from the legal term “blackacre,” first coined in 1628, as a nominal placeholder for hypothetical estates.

From Poetry@Princeton, congratulations.




Isobel Armstrong and Bob Perelman to Teach Graduate Courses on Poetry in Princeton’s English Department this Fall

image_previewIsobel Armstrong is the author of  Victorian Glassworlds: Glass Culture and the Imagination, The Radical Aesthetic, Women’s Poetry, Late Romantic to Late Victorian: Gender and Genre, and Victorian Poetry: Poetry, Politics and Poetics. She is an internationally renowned critic of nineteenth-century poetry, literature, and women’s writing, Emeritus Professor of English at Birkbeck, University of London, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of English Studies at the University of London, and a Fellow of the British Academy.


Perelman cropped Bob Perelman, Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, has published over 15 volumes of poetry, most recently The Future of Memory (Roof Books) and Ten to One: Selected Poems (Wesleyan University Press). His critical work focuses on poetry and modernism. His critical books are The Marginalization of Poetry: Language Writing and Literary History (Princeton University Press) and The Trouble with Genius: Reading Pound, Joyce, Stein, and Zukofsky (University of California Press). He has edited Writing/Talks (Southern Illinois University Press), a collection of talks by poets.

It is with great excitement that we welcome Isobel Armstrong and Bob Perelman into Princeton’s English Department for the upcoming fall semester. Professors Armstrong and Perelman will be teaching the following courses:

Special Studies in the 19th Century: Poetry: From Phantasmagoria to Photography (ENG 553)

Isobel Mair Armstrong

This course is about the poetics of the lens and the mirror and their immanent presence in Romantic and Victorian poetry by men and women. The optical culture created by lens-made technologies developed from the late Enlightenment onwards saw the “high” science of the telescope and the microscope migrate to the popular screen images of the phantasmagoria, diorama, panorama, kaleidoscope and a host of optical toys exploiting visual ambiguities. Technologies of the lens and the mirror, from the phantasmagoria to photography, from astronomy to the magic lantern, had repercussions across aesthetics and politics. (Tuesdays 9:00 AM – 11:50 AM)

Course Details

Poetics: Modernist Poetics and its Discontents (ENG 563)

Robert Perelman

The disjunction between the poetics and the poetry of the modernist period is striking. The poetics–as articulated in statements by Pound, Stein, Eliot, Williams, Zukofsky, Olson–are fascinating, but they make equivocal guides to the writing itself. Stein’s lecture on <I>Tender Buttons</I> sheds only anecdotal light on that recalcitrant text; Zukofsky’s terse essays on poetry are of little help in reading the linguistic exuberance of his poetry; etc. We read, via exemplary excerpts, both sides of these improbable equations. (Wednesdays 9:00 AM – 11:50 AM).

Course Details

For a listing of this fall’s course offerings in poetry across university departments, please see our current course offerings page.

Save the Date: 4/12 Maggie Nelson Reading & Conversation

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Maggie Nelson is an American poet, art critic, lyric essayist and nonfiction author of books such as Bluets, The Argonauts, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism, The Red Parts: A Memoir, The Art of Cruelty, and Jane: A Murder. The Art of Cruelty was a 2011 Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times and recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Nonfiction. Jane: A Murder was a finalist for the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for the Art of the Memoir. Nelson has taught at the Graduate Writing Program of the New School, Wesleyan University, and the School of Art and Design at Pratt Institute; she currently teaches in the CalArts MFA writing program. She was awarded an Arts Writers grant in 2007 from the Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation. In 2011, she was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Poetry.

Recipient of a 2010 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship for Nonfiction.

Prof. Gayle Salamon will join Maggie for the Q&A portion of the event.

Nassau Literary Review: Open for Spring Issue Submissions!


ThNassau Literary Review — Princeton’s oldest publication and the second-oldest undergraduate literary magazine in the country — is now open to submissions for their Spring 2016 issue!  Poetry submissions, as well as short stories, novel excerpts, screenplays, art, and photography, are all welcomed.

The deadline for submissions is 11:59 PM on February 27th.

To read past issues, click here. For more information on submissions, visit their website here.

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Marie Howe at Princeton this Spring, Teaching Advanced Poetry at the Lewis Center



Last Fall, Marie Howe delivered a beautiful and thought-provoking Holmes Lecture at Princeton, entitled “No Not Nothing Never: Interruption, Contradiction and Negation as a Way To Push Open the Door You Didn’t Know Was There,” a video recording of which can be viewed here.

This Spring, Princeton undergraduates are working with Marie Howe in her advanced poetry workshop in the Creative Writing Program at The Lewis Center.


Marie Howe is the 2012-2014 Poet Laureate of New York State and an award-winning author of three volumes of poetry. Her most recent book, The Kingdom of Ordinary Time (2009) was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her other collections of poetry include What the Living Do (1998), which was praised by Publisher’s Weekly as one of the five best poetry collections of the year, and The Good Thief (Persea, 1988), which was selected by Margaret Atwood for the 1987 National Poetry Series. She was also awarded the 2015 Academy of American Poets Fellowship. Her other awards include grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Bunting Institute, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Howe has taught writing at Tufts University and Dartmouth College and is currently teaching at Sarah Lawrence College, New York University, and Columbia University.

Rachel Zucker to deliver Bagley Wright Poetry Lecture on “The Confessional” at Princeton February 3rd!





“What We Talk About When We Talk About The Confessional and What We SHOULD Be Talking About”

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016
4:30 p.m.
Hinds Library, McCosh Hall
Reception in the Thorp Library to follow talk.

Rachel Zucker is the author of nine books, most recently, The Pedestrians (Wave Books, 2014), a double collection of poetry and prose and a memoir, MOTHERs (Counterpath Press, 2014). Zucker’s 2009 collection, Museum of Accidents, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Zucker was a 2013 National Endowment for the Arts fellow. She lives in New York with her husband and their three sons and teaches at New York University.

About the Bagley Wright Lecture Series on Poetry

The Bagley Wright Lecture Series on Poetry is a nonprofit that provides leading poets with the opportunity to explore in-depth their own thinking on the subject of poetry and poetics, and through financial and logistical support, to arrange for the delivery of several lectures that result from these investigations. Charlie Wright, Publisher of Wave Books, established the BWLS in memory of his late father, the businessman and philanthropist Bagley Wright. The Series is spearheaded by Charlie Wright and Wave Books editor Matthew Zapruder. Lectures are delivered publicly in partnership with institutions nationwide.