Christian Wiman

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Christian Wiman is an American poet and editor born in 1966 and raised in the small west Texas town of Snyder.[1] 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,[2] a role he stepped down from in June 2013.[3] Wiman now teaches Literature and Religion at Yale University[4] 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),[5] 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.[6] His book Ambition and Survival: Becoming a Poet[7] (Copper Canyon Press, 2007) reviewed by The New York Times Sunday Book Review,[8] 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, Harper’s, The New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker and The Sewanee Review.[9] 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.”[10]

Awards and honors[edit]

Selected works[edit]



  • 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)[1]
  • He Held Radical Light: The Art of Faith, the Faith of Art (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018)


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]