Christopher Merrill

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Christopher Merrill
Christopher merrill 065562.JPG
Born (1957-02-24) February 24, 1957 (age 61)
Language English
Nationality American
Alma mater Middlebury College, University of Washington

Christopher Merrill (born February 24, 1957) is an American poet, essayist, journalist and translator. Currently, he serves as director of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. He led the initiative that resulted in the selection of Iowa City as a UNESCO City of Literature, a part of the Creative Cities Network. In 2011, he was appointed to the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO.

Life and career[edit]

Christopher Merrill was born in western Massachusetts and raised in New Jersey. He did his undergraduate work at Middlebury College and his graduate degree at the University of Washington. He has published four collections of poetry, including Watch Fire, for which he received the Peter I. B. Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets. He has also published translations, several edited volumes, and four books of nonfiction. His work has been translated into twenty-five languages, and his journalism appears in many publications. For ten years he was the book critic for the daily radio news program The World. He has held the William H. Jenks Chair in Contemporary Letters at the College of the Holy Cross. Merrill lives in Iowa City with his wife Lisa, a violinist, and their two daughters.



  • Workbook (1988)
  • Fevers & Tides (1989)
  • Watch Fire. White Pine Press. 1995. ISBN 978-1-877727-43-6.
  • Brilliant Water. White Pine Press. 2001. ISBN 978-1-893996-12-0.
  • Seven Poets, Four Days, One Book (Trinity University Press, 2009).


  • The Grass of Another Country: A Journey Through the World of Soccer (1994)
  • The Old Bridge: The Third Balkan War and the Age of the Refugee (1995)
  • Only the Nails Remain: Scenes from the Balkan Wars. Rowman & Littlefield. 2001. ISBN 978-0-7425-1686-1.
  • Things of the Hidden God: Journey to the Holy Mountain (2004)
  • Cultural Diplomacy: The Linchpin of Public Diplomacy, Report of the Advisory Committee on Cultural Diplomacy, U.S. Department of State (2005)
  • The Tree of the Doves: Ceremony, Expediation, War (October, 2011)
  • Self-Portrait with Dogwood (2017) [1]


Collections and anthologies[edit]

Translated works[edit]

  • Christopher Merrill: Sajak sajak (Poems), translated into Malay (2006)
  • Why the Grass Whispered Again: Selected Poems, translated into Arabic (2007)

Awards, fellowships, and prizes[edit]

  • Sherman Brown Neff Fellowship, University of Utah (1986–1987)
  • John Ciardi Fellow in Poetry, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference (1989)
  • Pushcart Prize XV in Poetry (1990)
  • Editors’ Award in Poetry, Columbia: A Magazine of Poetry & Prose (1990)
  • Ingram Merrill Foundation Award in Poetry (1991)
  • Readers’ Choice Award in Poetry, Prairie Schooner (1992)
  • The Academy of American Poets Peter I. B. Lavan Younger Poets Award (1993)
  • Translation Award, Slovenian Ministry of Culture (1997)
  • Finalist, Los Angeles Times Book Prize (for The Four Questions of Melancholy: New and Selected Poems by Tomaž Šalamun (editor)) (1997)
  • Writers Association of Bosnia-Herzegovina Annual Literary Award, The Bosnian Stecak (2001)
  • Translation Awards, Korean Literature Translation Institute (2003, 2004, 2006)
  • Kostas Kyriazis Foundation Honorary International Literary Prize (2005)
  • Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, French Ministry of Culture and Communications (2006)


External links[edit]