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Photo: Mark Schäfer

Poet and Professor of English, Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri

Ellen Maria Gorrissen Fellow - Class of Spring 2015

Professor of English at Washington University, Mary Jo Bang is the author of six books of poems. Her first book, Apology for Want (University Press of New England, 1997), was awarded the 1996 Bakeless Prize and the 1998 Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award. Her second book, Louise in Love (Grove, 2001), won the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay di Castagnola Award for a manuscript-in-progress. The Downstream Extremity of the Isle of Swans (Georgia, 2001) was chosen by Mark Strand for the University of Georgia’s Contemporary Poetry Series. Elegy (Graywolf, 2007) received the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. In 2012, her translation of Dante’s Inferno, with illustrations by Henrik Drescher, was published by Graywolf Press. It was named a Notable Book by both the Academy of American Poets (2012) and by the American Library Association (2013). A collection of poems titled The Last Two Seconds was published by Graywolf in 2015. Bang was the poetry co-editor at Boston Review from 1995 to 2005, and her poems have appeared in the Paris Review, New Yorker, New Republic, Yale Review, Denver Quarterly, Best American Poetry, and elsewhere. Her honors include a “Discovery”/The Nation award, Pushcart Prize, Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, and a grant from the Guggenheim Foundation.


Bang earned her BA and MA in sociology from Northwestern University, a BA in photography from the Polytechnic of Central London, and an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University.

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