Robin Behn Biography

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(Poetry for Students)

Robin Behn was born in 1958. She is a prizewinning poet and author of three collections of poetry. Behn is also a distinguished professor of English and creative writing and was honored with the Burnum Distinguished Faculty Award at the University of Alabama, where she began teaching since the 1980s. Behn has stated that she comes from a family of teachers. Her father also taught English and instilled in her a love of language.

Behn received her bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College. She then continued her studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia and was granted a master’s degree from the University of Iowa. She has been awarded several major grants, including the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim fellowship.

Her first collection of poetry, Paper Bird, was published in 1988 and won the Associated Writing Programs Award in poetry. Her poem “Ten Years after Your Deliberate Drowning,” which appears in the collection Red Hour, was published in 1993. In 2001, her third collection of poetry, Horizon Note, was published and awarded the Brittingham Prize in poetry from the University of Wisconsin Press. Behn has also coedited a book that emphasizes her skills as a teacher, The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises from Poets who Teach (1992).

Behn has won numerous honors for her writing, including a National Endowment for the Arts individual artist grant, an Alabama State Council on the Arts individual artist grant, and the Pushcart Prize for poetry. Her poems have been published in many literary magazines including American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review, and the Iowa Review. Her work has been anthologized in the Pushcart Prize Anthology, Best American Poetry, and Poets of the New Century.