John Hollander (born October 28, 1929) is an American poet and literary critic. As of 2007, he is Sterling Professor Emeritus of English at Yale University. Previously he taught at Connecticut College, Hunter College, and the Graduate Center, CUNY.
Born to Muriel (Kornfeld) and Franklin Hollander, Jewish immigrant parents, in New York City, Hollander attended Columbia College of Columbia University, where he studied under Mark Van Doren and Lionel Trilling, and overlapped with Allen Ginsberg. After graduating, he supported himself for a while writing liner notes for classical music albums before returning to obtain a Ph.D. in literature.
Hollander has been a resident of Woodbridge, Connecticut, since the late 1980s. He has served as a judge for several high school recitation contests, and says he enjoys working with students on their poetry and teaching it. He stresses the importance of hearing poems out loud: "A good poem satisfies the ear. It creates a story or picture that grabs you, informs you and entertains you."
He is known also for his translations from Yiddish.
Hollander usually writes his poems on a computer, but if inspiration strikes him when he's away from it, "I've been known to start poems on napkins and scraps of paper, too.
Hollander influenced poet Karl Kirchwey, who studied under Hollander at Yale. Hollander taught him that it was possible to build a life around the task of writing poetry. Kirchwey recalled Hollander's passion:
Since he is a poet himself ... he conveyed a passion for that knowledge as a source of current inspiration.
He also has served in the following positions, among others: member of the board, Wesleyan University Press (1959–62); editorial assistant for poetry, Partisan Review (1959–65); contributing editor, Harper's Magazine (1969–71).
Awards and honors
- 2006: Appointed Poet Laureate of the State of Connecticut (term ended in 2011)
- 2006: Robert Fitzgerald Prosody Award
- 2002: Philolexian Award for Distinguished Literary Achievement
- 1990: MacArthur Fellowship
- 1983: Bollingen Prize for Powers of Thirteen.
- 1979: elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters Department of Literature
- 1958: Yale Series of Younger Poets for his first book of poems, A Crackling of Thorns, chosen by W. H. Auden.
- A Crackling of Thorns (1958) poems
- The Untuning of the Sky (1961)
- The Wind and the Rain (1961) editor with Harold Bloom
- Movie-Going (1962) poems
- Philomel (1964) "cantata text" for the composition of the same name by American composer Milton Babbitt
- Visions from the Ramble (1965) poems
- Jiggery-Pokery: A Compendium of Double Dactyls (1967) with Anthony Hecht
- Types of Shape (1969, 1991) poems
- Images of Voice (1970) criticism
- The Night Mirror (1971) poems
- Town and Country Matters (1972) poems
- The Head of the Bed (1974) poems
- Tales Told of the Fathers (1975) poems
- Vision and Resonance (1975) criticism
- Reflections on Espionage (1976) poems
- Spectral Emanations: New and Selected Poems (1978)
- Blue Wine (1979) poems
- The Figure of Echo (1981) criticism
- Rhyme's Reason: A Guide to English Verse (1981, 1989, 2001) manual of prosody
- Powers of Thirteen (1983) poems
- In Time and Place (1986) poems
- Harp Lake (1988) poems
- Melodious Guile: Fictive Pattern in Poetic Language (1988)
- Some Fugitives Take Cover (1988) poems
- Tesserae and Other Poems (1993)
- Selected Poetry (1993)
- Animal Poems (1994) poems
- The Gazer's Spirit: Poems Speaking to Silent Works of Art (1995) criticism
- The Work of Poetry (1997) criticism
- Figurehead and Other Poems (1999) poems
- Picture Window (2003)
- The Oxford Anthology of English Literature, American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century, editor
- Poems Bewitched and Haunted (2005) editor
- A Draft of Light (2008), poems
- Sonnets. From Dante to the present, Everyman's library pocket poets.
- John Hollander at NNdb
- Keillor, Garrison. Writer's Almanac. October 28, 2006.
- Boynton, Cynthia Wolfe, "Venerable Poet's Words To a Pop Music Beat", article, The New York Times, Connecticut and the Region section, February 10, 2008, p. 6
- JOHN SWANSBURG (April 29, 2001). "At Yale, Lessons in Writing and in Life". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-10-15. "Karl Kirchwey, who graduated from Yale in 1979, recently became the director of creative writing at Bryn Mawr College, after having run the Unterberg Poetry Center at the 92nd Street Y for over a decade. He remembers his first two years at Yale as unfocused and unproductive."
- STATE OF CONNECTICUT, Sites º Seals º Symbols; Connecticut State Register & Manual; retrieved on January 4, 2007
- J.D. McClatchy (Fall 1985). "John Hollander, The Art of Poetry No. 35". The Paris Review.
- Brief biography
- John Hollander at Random House
- Interview with John Hollander
- Curiosities - Quest of the Gole by Bud Webster at F&SF