Photographer: Kellie Spano
Mary Jo Bang grew up in Ferguson, Missouri. She has a BA and MA in Sociology from Northwestern University, a BA in Photography from the Polytechnic of Central London (now Westminster University), and an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University. From 1995-2005 she was the poetry co-editor at Boston Review. She is the author of six books of poems: Apology for Want (1997, winner of the Bakeless Prize); Louise in Love (2001, winner of the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award from the Poetry Society of America); The Downstream Extremity of the Isle of Swans (2001, winner of the Contemporary Poetry Award from the University of Georgia Press); The Eye Like a Strange Balloon (2004); Elegy (2007, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and a New York Times Notable Book); and The Bride of E (2009). Her translation of Dante's Inferno, with illustrations by Henrik Drescher, was published by Graywolf Press in 2012. A new collection, The Last Two Seconds, is forthcoming from Graywolf in March of 2015. She’s been the recipient of a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, and a 2015 Berlin Prize fellowship at the American Academy in Berlin. She is a Professor of English and Creative Writing at Washington University in St. Louis.
Bang can be an ingenious phrase maker, startling English out of its idiomatic slumber with subtle, deliberate awkwardness.”
The New York Times Book Review