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


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Mary Jo Bang's poetry is vivacious and at the same time mysterious. Its surface glitters with the sparkle that the brightest American writing has always given off, and in the depths it reveals a mixture of smoky, quickly complexities, a blend that is hers alone. Characters are driven to distress or exuberance by the fate she has prepared for them—their stories bloom on the page, ripen strangely, and quickly disappear. I love it."
—John Tranter



Graywolf Poetry Reading

AWP Minneapolis, MN

Thursday April 9 2015   12:00 pm to 1:15 pm 

Room 101 F&G, Level 1

(Mary Jo Bang, Katie Ford, Matthea Harvey, Nick Flynn)



© 2015 by Mary Jo Bang