Ellen Bryant Voigt

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Ellen Bryant Voigt
Chatham, Virginia
Alma materConverse College, University of Iowa
Notable awardsPoet Laureate of Vermont,
MacArthur Fellow
SpouseFran Voigt

Ellen Bryant Voigt (born May 9, 1943) is an American poet. She served as the Poet Laureate of Vermont.


Voigt was born May 9, 1943, in Danville, Virginia. She grew up in Chatham, Virginia, graduated from Converse College,[1] and received an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa. She has taught at M.I.T. and Goddard College where in 1976 she developed and directed the nation's first low-residency M.F.A. in Creative Writing program. Since 1981 she has taught in the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers.[2]

She has published six collections of poetry and a collection of craft essays. Her poetry collection Shadow of Heaven (2002) was a finalist for the National Book Award and Kyrie (1995) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her collection Messenger [3](2008) was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.[4] Her poetry has been published in several national publications. She served as the Poet Laureate of Vermont for four years and in 2003 was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. In 2015, Voigt was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship.

She was married to Francis (Fran) Voigt, an administrator at Goddard College, until his death in 2018. Their two children are Dudley and Will Voigt. She resides in Cabot, Vermont.


  • Ellen Bryant Voigt (1 March 1976). Claiming Kin. Wesleyan University Press. ISBN 978-0-8195-6961-5.
  • The Forces of Plenty, Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1983; Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1996, ISBN 9780887482274
  • The Lotus Flowers: Poems (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1987. ISBN 0-393-02445-8)
  • Two Trees W. W. Norton, Incorporated, 1992, ISBN 9780393311006
  • Kyrie, W.W. Norton, 1995, ISBN 9780393037968
  • Shadow of Heaven (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2002)
  • Messenger: New and Selected Poems 1976-2006. W. W. Norton. 17 July 2008. ISBN 978-0-393-06982-2.[5]
  • The Flexible Lyric. University of Georgia Press. 15 March 2011. ISBN 978-0-8203-4006-7. (essays)
  • Headwaters: Poems. W. W. Norton & Company. 21 October 2013. ISBN 978-0-393-08320-0.


  • "Owl", 2013.[6]

Awards and honors[edit]


  1. ^ "Genius grant for poet Ellen Bryant Voigt". charlotteobserver. Retrieved 2016-01-06.
  2. ^ "Ellen Bryant Voigt — MacArthur Foundation". www.macfound.org. Retrieved 2016-01-06.
  3. ^ Birkerts, Sven (2007-02-25). "Messenger: New and Selected Poems, 1976-2006 - By Ellen Bryant Voigt - Books - Review". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-10-19.
  4. ^ "Poetry – The Pulitzer Prizes". www.pulitzer.org. Retrieved 2016-10-19.
  5. ^ Williams, Susan S. "Review of Messenger by Ellen Voigt". Blackbird. Virginia Commonwealth University. Retrieved 2016-01-06. In short, there's nothing genteel and bloodless about Voigt's poetry. Her tough-minded refusal to write pretty poems has also stayed with her throughout her career. Perhaps more than any other quality, this readiness to face what's ugly and painful and real elevates Ellen Bryant Voigt's oeuvre from competence and craft to mastery. Messenger is a lesson in how to write poetry that will last.
  6. ^ Voigt, Ellen Bryant (March 4, 2013). "Owl". The New Yorker. Vol. 89, no. 3. pp. 42–43. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
  7. ^ "Class of 2015 - MacArthur Foundation". www.macfound.org. Retrieved 2018-03-25.
  8. ^ aapone (1979-12-31). "Academy of American Poets Fellowship". Academy of American Poets Fellowship. Retrieved 2018-03-25.
  9. ^ "Vermont - State Poet Laureate (State Poets Laureate of the United States, Main Reading Room, Library of Congress)". www.loc.gov. Retrieved 2018-03-25.
  10. ^ "Past Winners-Folger Shakespeare Library". 2011-06-11. Archived from the original on 2011-06-11. Retrieved 2018-03-25.

External links[edit]