Brian Henry’s most recent book of poetry, Permanent State, was published by Threadsuns in 2020. He has translated Tomaž Šalamun’s Woods and Chalices (Harcourt, 2008), Aleš Debeljak’s Smugglers (BOA Editions, 2015), and Aleš Šteger’s Above the Sky Beneath the Earth (White Pine Press, 2019) and The Book of Things (BOA Editions, 2010), which won the Best Translated Book Award in Poetry. His numerous honors include the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, a Slovenian Academy of Arts and Sciences grant, and fellowships from the Howard Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Rita Dove, born in 1952 in Akron, Ohio, earned degrees from Miami University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her record of achievement is unprecedented. When in February 2011 she received the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama, she became the first person to have received all three of the country’s highest arts distinctions—the others being the Humanities Medal and a term of service as Poet Laureate (2003–5). She has been a frequent guest of Bill Moyers’ PBS series. In 1987, she received the Pulitzer Prize for her third collection of poems, Thomas and Beulah, which is loosely based on her maternal grandparents’ lives. She also has nine other volumes of poetry: Collected Poems 1974–2004 (2016), Sonata Mulattica (2009), American Smooth (2004), On the Bus with Rosa Parks (1999), Mother Love (1995), Selected Poems (1993), Grace Notes (1989), Museum (1983), and The Yellow House on the Corner (1980). She has published a collection of essays, The Poet’s World (1995); a drama, The Darker Face of the Earth: A Verse Play in Fourteen Scenes (1994); a novel, Through the Ivory Gate (1992); and a collection of short stories, Fifth Sunday (1985). She has edited two volumes, The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry (2011) and The Best American Poetry 2000 (2000). From 2004 to 2006, Dove served as the Poet Laureate of Virginia. She holds twenty-five honorary doctorates, is a classically trained musician (viola de gamba), and has done numerous musical collaborations, including Seven for Luck, seven poems by Rita Dove with music by John Williams, and Umoja: Each One of Us Counts, music by Alvin Singleton, commissioned by the Atlanta Olympic Summer Games. Since 1989, she has taught at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she holds the chair of Commonwealth Professor of English.
Gerald Stern’s most recent books are a collection of poems, In Beauty Bright (W. W. Norton, 2012), and a book of essays, Stealing History (Trinity University, 2012). This Time: New and Selected Poems (1998) won the National Book Award, and his numerous other honors include the Ruth Lilly Prize and the Wallace Stevens Award. Stern taught for many years at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and he served as a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2005–2011.