Competition: US & Canada
Beth Bachmann is the author of two poetry collections, both published by the University of Pittsburgh Press’ venerable Pitt Poetry Series. Bachmann’s first book Temper (2009), a collection of poems about her sister’s unsolved murder, won the Association of Writers & Writing Programs Donald Hall Poetry Prize and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Her new book Do Not Rise (2015), winner of the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, explores war, memory and post-traumatic stress. Poet Michael Collier (Guggenheim Fellow, 1995) calls Do Not Rise “a completely original book filled with disquieting and graphic silence.”
Former United States Poet Laureate Robert Hass has written of Beth’s work, “Beth Bachmann’s Temper was the last time [in forty years] I remember reading a first book by a poet so prodigally and – the word that came to mind was – severely gifted. The new poems in Do Not Rise are a quantum leap forward with all the metaphorical leaps, adumbrations, dizzyings, deft, brief knottings that make the poems in Temper so dazzling. What they share with Temper is the unnerving poise and curiosity about the terrible things that we know. A remarkable young talent, and a scary one.”
Bachmann plans to use the Guggenheim funds to complete a third manuscript, Cease, a book of poems about peace as a process. Poems from Cease are forthcoming or have appeared in American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review, The Nation, The New Republic, Ploughshares and Poetry Magazine, and have been featured online at the World Literature Today and NPR’S On Being blogs. Read Beth in conversation about Cease with Nick Flynn (Guggenheim Fellow, 2001) in American Poetry Review.
Bachmann was born and raised near Philadelphia, where her father, a non-combat veteran, worked as a shoe-shiner and locker-room attendant. She was educated at Loyola University of Maryland, the Johns Hopkins University and Concordia University in Montreal. Each fall, she serves as Writer in Residence in the MFA program in Creative Writing at Vanderbilt University.
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Photograph credit: Sara Estensen