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Stephen Yenser (born 1941, Wichita, Kansas, United States) is an American poet and literary critic who has published three acclaimed volumes of verse, as well as books on James Merrill, Robert Lowell, and an assortment of contemporary poets. With J.D. McClatchy, he is co-literary executor of the James Merrill estate and co-editor of six volumes of Merrill's work.


Yenser graduated from the University of Wisconsin, studying with James Merrill in 1967 on one of the rare occasions when the poet taught.[1] Merrill dedicated to Yenser his final, posthumous collection, A Scattering of Salts (1995).

Yenser is Professor of English Emeritus and founding Director of Creative Writing at the University of California, Los Angeles,[2] curating the Hammer Poetry Series at the Hammer Museum.

His work has appeared in Paris Review,[3] Poetry,[4] Southwest Review, Yale Review, "The New Yorker," and many other magazines. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Melissa Berton and daughter Helen.[5]


  • Appearances in BEST AMERICAN POETRY anthologies 1992, 1995, 2011
  • 1992 Walt Whitman Award. selected by Richard Howard
  • "Discovery"/The Nation Award
  • Fulbright Teaching Fellowships to Greece and France
  • Ingram Merrill Foundation Award in Poetry
  • Pushcart Prize
  • B. F. Connors Prize for Poetry from the Paris Review.
  • Harvey L. Eby Teaching Award at UCLA



  • Stone Fruit(Waywiser Press, 2016), poetry 93 pages, ISBN 978-1-904130-81-9
  • Blue Guide (University of Chicago Press, 2006), poetry, 96 pages, ISBN 978-0226951355
  • The Fire in All Things (LSU Press, 1993), poetry, 64 pages, ISBN 978-0807118283





  1. ^ "UCLA". Archived from the original on 11 February 2008. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-05-05. Retrieved 2009-06-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-07-09. Retrieved 2009-06-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "August 1989 - Poetry Magazine". Poetry Foundation. 26 December 2017. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  5. ^ "Stephen Yenser". Retrieved 26 December 2017.