Writing Program poetry alumna Mary Jo Bang (’98SOA) delivered the address at the 2010 Celebration of Graduates May 18. Before her speech, she talked about her process and her craft.
Bang is the author of six books of poems: Apology for Want (University Press of New England 1997), which received the Bakeless Prize and the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers’ Award; Louise in Love (Grove Press 2001), which received the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay di Castagnola Award; The Downstream Extremity of the Isle of Swans (UGA Press 2001), which was selected as the winner of the University of Georgia Press Contemporary Poetry Series competition; The Eye Like a Strange Balloon (Grove Press 2004); and Elegy (Graywolf 2007), which received the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her most recent collection is The Bride of E, (Graywolf 2009). Her work has been translated into Spanish, German, and Polish. She is currently at work on a translation of the Inferno.
Bang has been the recipient of a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University and a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation. She’s earned a B.A. and M.A. in Sociology from Northwestern University, a B.A. in Photography from the Polytechnic of Central London, and an M.F.A. in poetry from Columbia University. She was a poetry editor at Boston Review from 1995 to 2005. Individual poems from have appeared in The New Yorker, Paris Review, Conjunctions, A Public Space, Denver Quarterly, The New Republic, and other magazines, as well as in three volumes of Best American Poetry. She has taught at Yale University, The New School, the University of Montana, Columbia University, and the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. She is currently a professor in the English Department at Washington University in St. Louis.