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Carolyn Forché (photo: Judy Axenson)
Carolyn Forché

NYS Writers Institute, December 10, 2003

4:15 p.m. Informal Seminar | Standish Room, LE
8:00 p.m. Reading | Recital Hall, PAC, Uptown Campus

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Carolyn Forché is known as a political poet, calling herself a "poet of witness." A native of Detroit, she attended Michigan State University and earned an MFA degree from Bowling Green State University. He debut collection, Gathering of the Tribes (1976), won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. The Country Between Us (1982), a volume that focused on the civil war in El Salvador during the 1970s, won the Lamont Poetry Prize of the Academy of American Poets. Her other books include an anthology, Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness (which she edited and which was published in 1993), and The Angel of History (1994). In 1994, Forche received the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Poetry.

She has translated the work of Arthur Rimbaud, works by Salvadoran poets and novelists, and with William Kulik, Robert Desnos' Selected Poetry. In addition to writing the text of El Salvador: Works of Thirty Photographers, she has published articles, book reviews, and essays in Granta, The New York Times, Washington Post, The American Poetry Review, Esquire, Mother Jones, The Nation, and others. Forché has won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award and the Charity Randall Citation from the International Poetry Forum. She recently was featured in the PBS series "The Language of Life," which aired in July 1997.

bookForche has held three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and in 1992 she received a Lannan Foundation Literary Award as a "writer of excellence, whose work promotes a true understanding of contemporary life." Last January she received the Edita and Ira Morris Hiroshima Foundation for Peace and Culture Award for 1998, in recognition of her work on behalf of human rights and the preservation of memory and culture.

She is currently a faculty member with the master of fine arts program in poetry at George Mason University in Virginia.

Describing her work, Forche wrote in 1981, "I have been told that a poet should be of his or her time. It is my feeling that the 20th century human condition demands a poetry of witness. This is not accomplished without certain difficulties. . .If I did not wish to make poetry of what I had seen, what is it I thought poetry was?"

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.