Karl Kirchwey

Karl Kirchwey headshot June 2014

Professor of English

BA, Yale College
MA, Columbia University

Room 214



Photo by Eva Kirchwey

Karl Kirchwey is the author of seven books: Stumbling Blocks: Roman Poems (2017); Mount Lebanon (2011), The Happiness of This World: Poetry and Prose (2007), At the Palace of Jove (2002), The Engrafted Word (1998; a New York Times “Notable Book of the Year”), Those I Guard (1993), and A Wandering Island (1990; recipient of the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America).  Poems Under Saturn, his translation of Paul Verlaine’s Poèmes saturniens, was published in 2011, and he edited the Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets series volume Poems of Rome (2018), an anthology from the Renaissance to the present.  He is currently working on translations of poems by Italian poet Giovanni Giudici (1924-2011).

Kirchwey’s play in verse entitled Airdales & Cipher, based on the Alcestis of Euripides, received the 1997 Paris Review Prize for Poetic Drama. His poems have appeared in most of this country’s major literary periodicals, and his essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Parnassus: Poetry in Review, and elsewhere. His poems and translations have been anthologized in works including Best American Poetry 2018, Poetry After 9/11: An Anthology of New York Poets (2001, 2011), The KGB Bar Book of Poems (2000), The Best of the Best American Poetry, 1987-1998 (1998), Twentieth Century Poems on the Gospels: an Anthology (1996), and After Ovid: New Metamorphoses (1995).

Karl Kirchwey has received grants from the Ingram Merrill Foundation and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation as well as from the National Endowment for the Arts, and also received a Rome Prize in Literature in 1994-95 and the Cato Prize in Poetry from the Classics Conclave in 2015. From 1987 to 2000, he was Director of the 92nd Street Y Unterberg Poetry Center in New York City. From 2000-2010 Kirchwey directed the Creative Writing Program at Bryn Mawr College. From 2010-2013, he served as Andrew Heiskell Arts Director at the American Academy in Rome, with administrative and curatorial responsibility for programs ranging from literature to the visual arts and from landscape architecture to historic preservation and conservation.  He was Director of Creative Writing at BU from 2014 to 2016, and is currently serving as Associate Dean of Faculty for the Humanities in BU’s College of Arts and Sciences.

Born in Boston, Kirchwey holds degrees in English Literature from Yale College (B.A.) and Columbia University (M.A.). He has lived abroad for extended periods in Quebec, Canada; London, England; Lausanne and Lugano, Switzerland; and Rome, Italy.

Link to feature about Karl Kirchwey in BU Today.

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