David Bottoms (b. 1949) had his Shooting Rats at the Bibb County Dump (1980) selected by Robert Penn Warren for the Academy of American Poets’ Walt Whitman Award for best first book by an American poet. Bottoms has gone on to publish six more poetry collections, most recently We Almost Disappear (Copper Canyon Press, 2011), and two novels, Any Cold Jordan (1987) and Easter Weekend (1990). His work has appeared widely in journals and magazines such as the Paris Review, the New Yorker, the Atlantic, the Kenyon Review, and the New Republic, and his many honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, and an Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. From 2000 to 2012 he served as Georgia’s poet laureate. At Georgia State University, where Bottoms has taught for some thirty years, he is John B. and Elena Diaz-Verson Amos Distinguished Chair in English Letters. (Inducted in 2009)
Stanley Plumly (1939–2019) authored ten collections of poems and four works of nonfiction. Elegy Landscape: Constable and Turner and the Intimate Sublime, his most recent book, was published by W. W. Norton in 2018. His many honors and awards include an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Truman Capote Award, and the Paterson Poetry Prize. He was the founding director of the MFA program in creative writing at the University of Maryland, where he had been a professor of English since 1985. Middle Distance, a collection of poems he finished before his death, will be published by W. W. Norton in 2020.