Christian Wiman is an American poet and editor born in 1966 and raised in West Texas. He graduated from Washington and Lee University and has taught at Northwestern University, Stanford University, Lynchburg College in Virginia, and the Prague School of Economics. In 2003, he became editor of the oldest American magazine of verse, Poetry, a role he stepped down from in June 2013. Wiman now teaches literature and religion at Yale Divinity School and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music.
His first book of poetry, The Long Home (Story Line Press, 1997) and reprinted by Copper Canyon Press (2007), won the Nicholas Roerich Prize. His 2010 book, Every Riven Thing (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010), was chosen by poet and critic Dan Chiasson as one of the best poetry books of 2010. His book Ambition and Survival: Becoming a Poet (Copper Canyon Press, 2007) reviewed by The New York Times Sunday Book Review, is "a collection of personal essays and critical prose on a wide range of subjects: reading Paradise Lost in Guatemala, recalling violent episodes from the poet's youth, traveling in Africa with an eccentric father, as well as a series of penetrating essays on poets, poetry, and poetry's place in our lives. The book concludes with a portrait of Wiman's diagnosis with a rare cancer, and a clear-eyed declaration of what it means — for an artist and a person — to have faith in the face of death."
His poems, criticism, and personal essays appear widely in such magazines as The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, The New York Times Book Review, and The New Yorker. Clive James describes Wiman’s poems as being “insistent on being read aloud, in a way that so much from America is determined not to be. His rhymes and line-turnovers are all carefully placed to intensify the speech rhythms, making everything dramatic: not shoutingly so, but with a steady voice that tells an ideal story every time.”
Awards and honors
- 2014 National Book Critics Circle Award (Poetry) finalist for Once in the West
- 2016 Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry
- The Long Home (Story Line Press, 1998) (Copper Canyon Press, 2007)
- Hard Night (Copper Canyon Press, 2005)
- Every Riven Thing (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010)
- Once in the West (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014)
- "Stolen Air" (Ecco, 2012), a translation of Osip Mandelstam's poems.
- H.L. Hix, ed. (2008). New Voices: Contemporary Poetry from the United States. Irish Pages. ISBN 978-0-9544257-9-1.
- Ambition and Survival: Becoming a Poet (Copper Canyon Press, 2007)
- My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013)
- Yezzi, David (April 19, 2013). "Cries And Whispers". The Wall Street Journal (paper). p. A13.
Part memoir, part statement of Christian faith, part commonplace book, this slim volume of spiritual and literary meditations unsettles more than it soothes.
- "About Poetry Magazine". Poetry Foundation. Masthead. Archived from the original on April 19, 2013. Retrieved April 19, 2013.
- "Christian Wiman". Poetry Foundation. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
- "Christian Wiman". Yale University. Retrieved 4 October 2014.
- The New Yorker > December 6, 2010
- The New York Times Sunday Book Review > October 7, 2007 > A Formal Feeling by Ken Tucker: Review of Ambition and Survival: Becoming a Poet by Christian Wiman
- The New Yorker > June 29, 2009 > Poetry > Five Houses Down by Christian Wiman
- CliveJames.com > Guest Poet > Christian Wiman
- "National Book Critics Circle Announces Finalists for Publishing Year 2014". National Book Critics Circle. January 19, 2015. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
- Video interview: "Bill Moyers & Company" > February 2012 > "An Interview with poet Christian Wiman"
- Audio: The Cortland Review > Issue 32 > Interior by Christian Wiman
- Interview: Bookslut > March 2009 > An Interview with Christian Wiman
- Feature: Image > July 2009 > Artist of the Month: Christian Wiman
- Interview: Poets & Writers > August 7, 2007 > An Interview with Poet Christian Wiman by Kevin Nance