Mark Strand Biography


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Although a Canadian by birth, Mark Strand moved to the United States in 1938, when he was four years old, and has remained there for most of his life. He has consistently described his parents, Robert Joseph Strand and Sonia Apter Strand, as “bookish,” intellectual types who emphasized education and the humanities in his childhood. The youth at first fought his parents’ influence in this regard and sought to become an athlete, although he was interested in art from an early age. He grew up in the country, spending much time without the companionship of other children. In 1954, he entered Antioch College in northern Ohio, where he immediately came under the influence of Nolan Miller, his freshman English teacher and a respected critic, editor, and writer. In his college years, his attraction to and involvement with poetry became undeniable; he discovered that he liked reading it as well as writing it, and, whether consciously or unconsciously, he set upon a career course that would eventually lead to the announcement that he had been appointed poet laureate of the United States by the Library of Congress.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Yale University in 1959, where he also received the Cook Prize and the Bergin Prize. Upon graduation, he was appointed a Fulbright Fellow and spent a year at the University of Florence. In 1961, he was married to Antonia Ratensky, from whom he was divorced in 1973; the marriage saw the birth of one...

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(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Mark Strand began life on remote Prince Edward Island, Canada, and when he was four, he moved with his parents to the United States. Eventually he landed in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where he graduated with his B.A. from Antioch College in 1957. He earned his B.F.A. from Yale University in 1959, was a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Florence (1960-1961), and earned his M.A. from University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa, in 1962. As a visiting professor or instructor, Strand has taught at the University of Rio de Janeiro (1965-1966), Mount Holyoke College (1967), the University of Washington (1968), Columbia and Yale Universities (1968-1970), Princeton University (1972), Brandeis University (1973), the University of California at Irvine (1977), and Harvard University (1980). Strand eventually became a professor of English at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

He has received the Cook and Bergin prizes, a second Fulbright Fellowship, the Ingram-Merril Foundation grant, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, and a Rockefeller grant. He won the Academy of American Poets’ Edgar Allan Poe Award (in 1974 for The Story of Our Lives), a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters. He was honored to succeed Robert Penn Warren as the poet laureate of the United States Library of Congress (1990-1991). He was awarded the Bollingen Prize for Poetry from the Yale University Library in 1993. Blizzard of One won for Strand the Pulitzer Prize in poetry and the Boston Book Review Bingham Poetry Prize, 1999.

This professorial...

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(Poetry for Students)

Although Mark Strand was born in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada, in 1934, he moved with his family to the United States at the age...

(The entire section is 412 words.)


(Poetry for Students)

Mark Strand has developed a reputation as a poet of absence and darkness, whose verse attempts to articulate the uncertainties of human...

(The entire section is 432 words.)