Carolyn Forché, poet

Event time: 
Thursday, October 6, 2005 - 12:15pm
Event description: 

Part of the 2005-2006 Yale Literature and Spirituality Series

Event followed by a book-signing and reception.

Yale Divinity Book Supply, 409 Prospect Street, New Haven


Known as a “poet of witness,” Carolyn Forché is the author of four books of poetry. Her first poetry collection, Gathering The Tribes (Yale University Press, 1976), won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award from the Yale University Press. In 1977, she traveled to Spain to translate the work of Salvadoran—exiled poet Claribel Alegría, and upon her return, received a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, which enabled her to travel to El Salvador, where she worked as a human rights advocate.

Her second book, The Country Between Us (Harper and Row, 1982), received the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, and was also the Lamont Selection of the Academy of American Poets. Her translation of Alegria’s work, Flowers From The Volcano, was published by the University Pittsburgh Press in 1983, and that same year, Writers and Readers Cooperative (New York and London) published El Salvador: Work of Thirty Photographers, for which she wrote the text. In 1991, The Ecco Press published her translations of The Selected Poetry of Robert Desnos(with William Kulik). Her articles and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, Esquire, Mother Jones, and others. Forché has held three fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts, and in 1992 received a Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship.

Forché’s anthology, Against Forgetting: Twentieth Century Poetry of Witness, was published by W.W. Norton & Co. in 1993, and in 1994, her third book of poetry, The Angel of History (HarperCollins, Publishers), was chosen for The Los Angeles Times Book Award. In 1998 in Stockholm, she was given the Edita and Ira Morris Hiroshima Foundation for Peace and Culture Award, in recognition of her work on behalf of human rights and the preservation of memory and culture. In April of 2000, Curbstone Press published a new book of her translations of Claribel Alegría, Sorrow. Her fourth book of poems, Blue Hour, was published by HarperCollins in Spring, 2003. The book she co-translated, Selected Poetry of Mahmoud Darwish, was published by the University of California Press in Fall, 2002. A chapbook selection of that work was published by The Lannan Foundation Fall, 2001.

Carolyn Forché teaches at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, and also lives in Maryland with her husband, photographer Harry Mattison, and their son, Sean-Christophe.