Marilyn Nelson

Marilyn Nelson

Marilyn Nelson (aka Marilyn Nelson Waniek) was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and comes from a long line of teachers on her mother’s side. Her father was a career Air Force officer who wrote poetry and plays. Marilyn grew up on air bases all over the country and wrote her first poem at age 11. She earned her BA from the University of California, Davis, and holds postgraduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania (MA, 1970) and the University of Minnesota (Ph.D., 1979) and honorary doctorates from Kutztown University in Pennsylvania and Simpson College in Iowa.Her many poetry books include two published by Front Street:Fortune’s Bones: The Manumission Requiem(2004) a Coretta Scott King Honor Book, and Carver: A Life in Poems (2001) a Coretta Scott King Honor Book, a National Book Award finalist, and a Newbery Honor Book.A Wreath for Emmett Till (Houghton Mifflin, Spring 2005)The following are published by the Louisiana State University Press: The Cachoiera Tales and Other Poems (2005); The Fields of Praise: New and Selected Poems(1997) a Poet’s Prize winner, a Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize finalist, a National Book Award finalist, and a PEN Winship Award winner;Magnificat: Poems (1994), The Homeplace (1990) an Annisfield-Wolf Award winner and a National Book Award finalist, Mama’s Promises(1985), For the Body (1978). Ms. Nelson was named Poet Laureate of Connecticut in June, 2001. Other honors include two Pushcart prizes, two creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship, the 1990 Connecticut Arts Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She was professor of English at the University of Connecticut in Storrs from 1978 to 2002, and professor of English at the University of Delaware from 2002 to 2004. Since September 2004 she is Emeritus Professor at the University of Connecticut and director of Soul Mountain Retreat, a writers’ colony.


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