Warren is the daughter of novelist, literary critic and Poet Laureate Robert Penn Warren and writer Eleanor Clark. She graduated from Yale University, where she was a member of Manuscript Society, in 1976, with a degree in painting, and then in 1980 received an M.A. from The Writing Seminars, at Johns Hopkins University. Until July 2012 she was the Emma MacLachlan Metcalf Professor of the Humanities and a University Professor at Boston University.
Warren's first collection of poetry, Each Leaf Shines Separate (1984), received generally favorable notice in a review in The New York Times. Her next collection, Stained Glass, won the Lamont Poetry Prize for the best second volume published in the U. S. in 1993; in his review, Jonathan Aaron described these poems "tough-minded, beautifully crafted meditations". Warren was awarded the Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching at Boston University in 2004. She held a Lannan Foundation Marfa residency in 2005.
In the 2008-09 academic year, Warren was a fellow of the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. Warren is currently the Hanna Holborn Gray Distinguished Service Professor in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago.
On December 21, 1981, Warren married Stephen Scully, but is now divorced. She has two daughters. Her younger daughter, Chiara Scully, graduated from Yale University, and is pursuing a writing career of her own. Her poetry has been published in the Seneca Review. and The New Republic. Her eldest daughter, Katherine Scully, also graduated from Yale University and is a lawyer.
Warren's other awards include several Pushcart Prizes, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award of Merit in Poetry, the Witter Bynner Poetry Prize (1993), the Sara Teasdale Award in Poetry (2011), and a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 1990 she served as poet in residence at The Frost Place in Franconia, New Hampshire. She is a member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters and The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has served as Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. In spring of 2006 she received a Berlin Prize to fund half a year of study and work at the American Academy in Berlin.
- "The Twelfth Day". Daedelus 138 (1): 68–70. Winter 2009. doi:10.1162/daed.2009.138.1.68.
- "Romanesque". The New Yorker. October 6, 2008.
- "A Kosmos". The New Yorker. November 5, 2007.
- "Lake". Slate. Nov. 12, 2002.
- "Palaces". Threepenny Review. Winter 2007.
- "From the Notebooks of Anne Verveine". Poetry Foundation.
- "Intimate Letters". Poetry Foundation.
- "Interior at Petworth: From Turner". Poetry Foundation.
- "For Trakl". AGNI. 2003.
- "Invitation au Voyage: Baltimore". AGNI. 2002.
- Ghost in a Red Hat. W.W. Norton. 2011. ISBN 978-0393080063.
- Departure. W.W.Norton. 2003. ISBN 0-393-05819-0.
- Stained Glass. W.W. Norton. 1993. ISBN 0-393-03486-0.
- Each Leaf Shines Separate. October 17, 1984. ISBN 978-0-393-30205-9.
- Snow Day. Palaemon Press Limited. 1981.
- Pastorale. Palaemon Press Limited. 1980.
- "Arthur Rimbaud: Insulting Beauty". The Atlantic. October 21, 2008.
- Fables of the Self: Studies in Lyric Poetry. W. W. Norton & Company. 2008. ISBN 978-0-393-06613-5.
- "A Symposium on Forsaken Favorites: Sylvia Plath". The Threepenny Review. Spring 2009.
- Euripides (1995). The Suppliants. Oxford University Press US. ISBN 978-0-19-504553-6. Translator with Stephen Scully, The Suppliants (Euripides)
Anthony Hecht writes:
Rosanna Warren lives in our tarnished, everyday, ramshackle world of loss, anguish, and sacrifice, but she inhabits almost as vividly a realm of classic purity; and in some of her best, most moving poems she dwells in both regions at once, and within, as it seems, the same breath. It is a beautiful miracle of bilocation.
In Warren’s view, the consolation of either elegy or philosophy is insufficient, and she’s not going to let either herself or her reader forget it. Stained Glass is a work of acute, uncompromising vision.
In the best poems in Rosanna Warren's first book, Each Leaf Shines Separate, her lavish technique is disciplined by her austere moral intelligence. But when the moral faculty fails to chasten the technique, her poems tend toward convoluted syntax and a perverse ingenuity of image.
- Aron, Jonathan (Winter 1993-94). "STAINED GLASS. Poems by Rosanna Warren.". Ploughshares. Retrieved 2009-04-05. [dead link]
- "ROSANNA WARREN WED TO STEPHEN SCULLY". he New York Times. December 21, 1981.
- Profile Warren at poet's org
- "Ellen Maria Gorrissen Fellow, Class of Spring 2006". American Academy in Berlin. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
- Jonathan Aaron (Winter 1993-94). "Stained Glass Book Review". Ploughshares. [dead link]
- Sleigh, Tom (July 21, 1985). "Of Hector, Orpheus, and Max Jacob". The New York Times.
- Boston University page
- Biography at poets.org
- Interview at The Kenyon Review
- Rosanna Warren, Ploughshares, the literary journal
- Audio: Rosanna Warren reads 'Simile' from Departure
- Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago