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Christian Wiman    

Award Winning Poet & Memoirist Essayist, Editor, Critic, Translator

Christian Wiman is Senior Lecturer in Religion and Literature at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, teaches at the Yale Divinity School, and was editor of Poetry Magazine from 2003 to 2013. He has published four books of poetry: Once In the West (FSG, 2014), finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Every Riven Thing; Hard Night; and The Long Home (Nicholas Roerich Prize); a collection of essays, Ambition and Survival: On Becoming a Poet; and a memoir, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer (FSG, 2013). Wiman’s translations of Osip Mendelstam are collected in the volume Stolen Air (Ecco, 2012).

My Bright Abyss was chosen as one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Religion Books of 2013. Every Riven Thing won the Ambassador Book Award in poetry and was chosen in The New Yorker by poet and critic Dan Chiasson as one of the 11 best poetry collections of 2010. About Once in the West, Publishers Weekly wrote: “These poems of anger and devotion…[are] part of a serious poet’s lifelong thought about life and death, about body and soul, about memory and family, about this world and what is beyond.”

A native of West Texas, Wiman graduated from Washington and Lee University and later taught at Stanford, Yale, Northwestern, and the Prague School of Economics. During his editorship of Poetry, the magazine’s circulation tripled and its influence widened around the world. A strong believer in the magazine’s famous, 100-year-old “Open Door” policy, Wiman consistently published formalists alongside experimentalists, as well as greatly expanding the range of prose in the back of the magazine. In 2011 Poetry won two prestigious awards—for general excellence and for best podcast—from the American Society of Magazine Editors.

Wiman is a recipient of both the Ruth Lilly and Wallace Stegner fellowships and he has also been a Guggenheim fellow. His poems and essays have appeared in The Atlantic, Harper’s, the NY Times Book Review, and the New Yorker, among others.


Speech Topics

Hammer is the Prayer: On Artistic Inspiration and the Limits of Devotion

Rethinking the Language of Faith

Ten Demented Chickens: Poems, Prayers, and other Expostulations

Anti-Devotional Devotional Poetry

Facing God in the Face of Death

On Translating Osip Mandelstam

Robert Frost and Religious Belief

What “Form” Means in the Wake of Modernism

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