Collins (1941- ) was born in New York City. He is one of America’s best-selling poets; his books include Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems (2001), Picnic, Lightning (1998), and The Art of Drowning (1995). In October 2004, Collins was the inaugural recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Mark Twain Award for humorous poetry. He has served as a Literary Lion of the New York Public Library and is a distinguished professor of English at Lehman College, City University of New York, where he has taught for the past 40 years. He is also Senior Distinguished Fellow of the Winter Park Institute in Florida and, as of 2015, an MFA faculty member at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
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Glück (1943- ) was born in New York City and grew up on Long Island. She attended Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University. She is the author of more than 10 books of poetry, including The Wild Iris, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1993; and Faithful and Virtuous Night, which won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2014. Her poetry book Ararat (1990) received the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry. Other honors include the Bollingen Prize, the Wallace Stevens Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations. A resident of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Glück taught at Williams College for 20 years and currently teaches at Yale University, where she is the Rosencranz Writer in Residence, and in the Creative Writing Program at Boston University. Glück also served as Special Bicentennial Consultant, 1999-2000, along with Rita Dove and W.S. Merwin.
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Kooser (1939- ), who was born in Ames, Iowa, received his bachelor's degree from Iowa State and his master's in English from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. He is the author of more than 10 collections of poetry, including Delights & Shadows, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005. His other honors include two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, a Pushcart Prize, and the Stanley Kunitz Prize from Columbia. He is a professor in the English department at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.
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Hall (1928- ), who was born in New Haven, Connecticut, received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and a bachelor’s in literature from Oxford University. He has published nearly 20 books of poetry, including his latest, The Selected Poems of Donald Hall (2015). He has also written 20 books of prose, children’s books, and plays. He received the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for his poetry collection The One Day (1988). He lives in New Hampshire.
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Charles Simic (1938- ) was born in former Yugoslavia. He is the author of more than 20 books of poetry, and is also an essayist, translator, editor, and professor emeritus of creative writing and literature at the University of New Hampshire, where he taught for over 30 years. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1990 for his book of prose poems The World Doesn't End (1989). His 1996 collection, Walking the Black Cat, was a finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry. In 2005 he won the Griffin Prize for Selected Poems: 1963-2003. Simic's latest book of poetry is The Lunatic (2015). His honors include a MacArthur Fellowship as well as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts; the Edgar Allan Poe Award; the PEN Translation Prize; and the Wallace Stevens Award. He lives in Strafford, New Hampshire.
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Kay Ryan (1945- ) was born in 1945 in San Jose, California, and grew up in the San Joaquin Valley and the Mojave Desert. For more than 30 years, she taught remedial English at the College of Marin in Kentfield, California. She is the author of seven books of poetry, most recently Erratic Facts (Grove Press, 2015); she won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 2011 for The Best of It: New and Selected Poems, and was awarded a MacArthur Genius Grant the same year. Additional honors include a National Humanities Medal, fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, and a Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. Her project as laureate, "Poetry for the Mind's Joy," included a poetry-writing contest, a videoconference with students at community colleges, and designation of April 1 as Community College Poetry Day. The events were sponsored by the Library, in collaboration with the Community College Humanities Association.
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