Lewis Hyde is a poet, essayist, translator, and cultural critic with a particular interest in the public life of the imagination. His 1983 book, The Gift, illuminates and defends the non-commercial portion of artistic practice. Trickster Makes This World (1998) uses a group of ancient myths to argue for the disruptive intelligence that all cultures need if they are to remain lively and open to change. Common as Air (2010) is a spirited defense of our "cultural commons," that vast store of ideas, inventions, and works of art that we have inherited from the past and continue to enrich in the present.
Hyde’s most recent book, A Primer for Forgetting, explores the many situations in which forgetfulness is more useful than memory—in myth, personal psychology, politics, art & spiritual life.
A MacArthur Fellow and former director of undergraduate creative writing at Harvard University, Hyde taught creative writing and American literature for many years at Kenyon College. Now retired, he lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with his wife, the writer Patricia Vigderman. Hyde is a trustee of the MacDowell Colony and a founding director of the Creative Capital Foundation.
About the Nonfiction Dialogues
The Nonfiction Dialogues is a student-initiated evening series in which Professor and Writing Program Chair Lis Harris interviews distinguished nonfiction writers about their work and careers. Recent guests have included Eula Biss, Alexander Chee, John D’Agata, Ian Frazier, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, and Mary Roach.