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2015 Participant Biographies

Susan Wheeler


Susan Wheeler was born in 1955 and grew up in Minnesota and New England. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Bennington College and did graduate work in art history at the University of Chicago. She teaches at Princeton University, where she is Director and Professor of Creative Writing. She also has taught at the University of Iowa, NYU, Rutgers, and Columbia University.



Wheeler's most recent book of poetry is Meme (2012), which was shortlisted for the National Book Award in poetry, and she has collected her work in Assorted Poems (2009). Her other volumes of poetry are Ledger (2005), Source Codes (2001), Smokes (1998), and Bag 'o' Diamonds (1993), which received the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. She is also the author of the novel Record Palace (2005).

Wheeler's other honors include the Witter Bynner Prize for Poetry, given by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Additionally, her poems have appeared in eight editions of The Best American Poetry series.


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Simon Armitage


Simon Armitage was born in 1963 in Marsden, England. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Portsmouth University and a Masater of Science from Manchester University. In 2011, he was appointed Professor of Poetry at the University of Sheffield. He also taught at the University of Leeds, the University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop, and Manchester Metropolitan University.



Armitage's most recent book of poems is Stanza Stones (2013). His other volumes of poetry include Black Roses: The Killing of Sophie Lancaster (2012); Seeing Stars (2010), Tyrannosaurus Rex Versus the Corduroy Kid (2006); The Shout: Selected Poems (2005), which was shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Killing Time (1999); CloudCuckooLand(1997); The Dead Sea Poems (1995); Kid (1992), which won the Forward Prize; and Zoom! (1989), selcted as a Poetry Society Book Choice. His translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (2007), from Middle English was named a Book of the Year by both the New York Times and the Los Angles Times. Armitage also authored two novels, The White Stuff (2004) and LIttle Green Man (2001), and the non-fiction books Walking Home (2012), Gig: THe Life and Times of a Rock-star Fantasist (2008), All Points North (1998), and, with Glyn Maxwell, Moon Country: Further Reports from Iceland (1996). He has also written for radio, television, and film, and stage plays.



Armitage was named the UK's official Millennium Poet in 1999 and a Commander of the British Empire in 2010. His other honors include Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Lannan Award, the Keats-Shelley Poetry Prize, Hay Medal for Poetry, and honorary doctorates from Portsmouth University, the University of Huddersfield, the Open University, and Sheffield Hallam University.


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Terrance Hayes


Terrance Hayes was born in Columbia, South Carolina in 1971. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1994 from Coker College, where he studied painting and English and was an Academic All-American on the men's basketball team. After receiving an MFA from the University of Pittsburgh in 1997, he taught in southern Japan; Columbus, Ohio; and New Orleans, Louisiana. He returned to Pittsburgh in 2001, teaching for the next twelve years at Carnegie Mellon University, and joined the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh as a full professor of English in 2013.



Hayes's most recent book of poems is How To Be Drawn (2015). His other volumes of poetry are Lighthead (2010), which won the 2010 National Book Award, Wind In a Box (2006), Hip Logic (2002), and Muscular Music (1999). In, addition, he was editor of The Best American Poetry 2014, the preeminent annual anthology of contemporary American poetry.

In 2014, Hayes was named a MacArthur Fellow by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. His other honors include a Whiting Writers Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Additionally, he has served as a member of the National Student Poets Program of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities and is a contributing editor for jubilat magazine.

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Neil Corcoran


Neil Corcoran is a 1969 graduate of the University of Oxford. He is Honorary Research Fellow and Emeritus Professor at the University of Liverpool, where he was King Alfred Professor of English until 2010. Corcoran's teaching and research interests include modern and contemporary British and Irish literature, particularly poetry, as well as modern American poetry.



Corcoran's most recent book of literary criticism is Poetry and Responsibility (2014). His other books include Shakespeare and the Modern Poet (2010), Elizabeth Bowen: The Enforced Return (2004), Poets of Modern Ireland: Text, Context, Intertext (1999), The Poetry of Seamus Heaney: A Critical Guide(1998), After Yeats and Joyce: Reading Modern Irish Literature (1997), and English Poetry since 1940 (1993).



A Fellow of the English Association and a member of the International Association of University Professors of English, Corcoran served as editor of the Cambridge Companion to Twentieth-Century English Poetry (2008), to which he contributed a chapter on the poetry of the First World War. He also edited Do You, Mr. Jones?: Bob Dylan with the Poets and Professors (2002), and has published many reviews of contemporary poetry in such publications as the Times Literary Supplement, the London Review of Books, and the Guardian.