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 of poems, including Stumbling Blocks: Roman Poems (2017); The Happiness of This World: Poetry and Prose (2007); The Engrafted Word (1998; a New York Times “Notable Book of the Year”); 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 has edited the Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets volumes Poems of Rome (2018) and Poems of Healing (2021).

Kirchwey’s poems, including sections of his long poem-in-progress MUTABOR, have appeared in most of this country’s major literary periodicals, and his essays and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in AGNI, Arion, The American Scholar, The New York Times Book Review, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Parnassus: Poetry in Review, Raritan, 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. He has spent his career working both inside and outside academia. As a curator and arts administrator, he served from 1987 to 2000 as Director of the 92nd Street Y Unterberg Poetry Center in New York City, and from 2010-2013 as Andrew Heiskell Arts Director at the American Academy in Rome. From 2000-2010, Kirchwey directed the Creative Writing Program at Bryn Mawr College, and he directed the MFA Program in Creative Writing at BU from 2014 to 2016. He teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing and in the MFA degree program in Literary Translation.

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, U.K.; Lausanne and Lugano, Switzerland; and Rome, Italy.

Link to feature about Karl Kirchwey in BU Today.

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