Gregory Pardlo

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Gregory Pardlo
Pardlo at the 2015 Texas Book Festival.
Pardlo at the 2015 Texas Book Festival.
Born (1968-11-24) November 24, 1968 (age 51)
Alma materRutgers University-Camden,
New York University,
Columbia University,
City University of New York
Notable awardsPulitzer Prize for Poetry

Gregory Pardlo (born November 24, 1968)[1] is an American poet, writer, and professor. His book Digest won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. His poems, reviews, and translations have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Callaloo, Poet Lore, Harvard Review, Ploughshares, and on National Public Radio.[2] His work has been praised for its “language simultaneously urban and highbrow… snapshots of a life that is so specific it becomes universal.”[3]

Life and work[edit]

Pardlo's first volume of poems, Totem, was chosen by Brenda Hillman as the winner of the 2007 American Poetry Review / Honickman First Book Prize, distributed by Copper Canyon Press.[4] The manuscript for Totem was also a semifinalist for the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets, a finalist for the National Poetry Series, and a finalist for the inaugural Essence Magazine Literary Award in Poetry.[2] Pardlo is the translator of the full-length poetry collection Pencil of Rays and Spike Mace by Danish poet Niels Lyngsø.[5]

Born in Philadelphia, Pardlo grew up in Willingboro, New Jersey.[6] His younger brother is Robbie Pardlo, an American musician formerly of R&B group City High.[7] His father, Gregory Pardlo Sr., is a former air traffic controller who participated in the air traffic controllers' strike of 1981.[8]

Gregory Pardlo received his BA in English from Rutgers University-Camden, an MFA from New York University as a New York Times Fellow in Poetry, and an MFA in nonfiction from Columbia University; he is also a doctoral candidate in English at the City University of New York. He has been the recipient of fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Cave Canem Foundation, the MacDowell Artist's Colony, the Seaside Institute, the Lotos Club Foundation, and City University of New York, as well as a translation grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.[9]

Pardlo’s poem “Written by Himself” appeared in The Best American Poetry 2010 anthology series edited by David Lehman and Amy Gerstler, following initial publication in The American Poetry Review.[10] His poem "Wishing Well" appeared in The Best American Poetry 2014, guest edited by Terrance Hayes, following initial publication in Painted Bride Quarterly.[11] Pardlo serves as an Associate Editor for the literary journal Callaloo. He has led writing workshops for the PEN American Center, American Poetry Review / Young Voices Program, The Frost Place Conference, Callaloo Creative Writer’s Workshop, and Jamaica’s Calabash International Literary Festival, among others. He is a Teaching Fellow at Columbia University.[12]

In 2016, Pardlo accepted a tenure-track faculty position with the English department at his alma mater, Rutgers University-Camden.[13] He has previously taught at Columbia University,[12] George Washington University, Medgar Evers College, The New School University, John Jay College, Hunter College, and NYU.[9][12][14]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • 2015 Winner, Pulitzer Prize for poetry for Digest
  • 2014 Selection, The Best American Poetry 2014 for "Wishing Well"
  • 2010 Selection, The Best American Poetry 2010 for "Written by Himself"
  • 2008 Finalist, Essence Magazine Literary Award in Poetry for Totem
  • 2008 Selection, Coldfront Magazine Best First Books of 2007 for Totem
  • 2008 Nominee, Pushcart Prize
  • 2007 Winner, American Poetry Review / Honickman First Book Prize in Poetry for Totem
  • 2007 Finalist, National Poetry Series for Totem
  • 2007 Semifinalist, Academy of American Poets Walt Whitman Award for Totem
  • 2005 Finalist, Cave Cavem Book Prize
  • 2004 Winner, Lotos Club Foundation Award for Creative Writing
  • 2003 Nominee, Pushcart Prize
  • 2001 Honorable Mention, New Millennium Writings Prize

Published works[edit]

Full-length poetry collections[edit]

  • Totem (Copper Canyon Press, 2007), ISBN 9780977639526[15][16][17][18]
  • Digest (Four Way Books, 2014), ISBN 9781935536505[19]


  • Air Traffic: A Memoir of Ambition and Manhood in America (Knopf, 2018), ISBN 978-1524731762


Anthologized writings[edit]

  • “Written by Himself”, The Best American Poetry 2010 (Scribner, 2010)
  • “Marginalia”, So Much Things to Say: 100 Poets from the First Ten Years of the Calabash International Literary Festival (Akashic Books, 2010)
  • “Double Dutch”, From the Fishouse: An Anthology of Poems that Sing, Rhyme, Resound, Syncopate, Alliterate, and Just Plain Sound Great (Persea Press, 2009)
  • “Man Reading in Bed by a Window with Bugs”, Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry (University of Georgia Press, 2009)
  • “Winter After the Strike”, Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem’s First Decade (University of Michigan Press, 2006)
  • “Arsonist” and “Future as Evaporation”, Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature and Art (Third World Press, 2002)
  • “Harvest: A Line Drawing”, Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam (Three Rivers Press, 2001)

Selected prose[edit]


  1. ^ "Gregory Pardlo’s ‘Digest’ wins Pulitzer Prize for poetry", Black Kudos.
  2. ^ a b GWU English Faculty Page
  3. ^ "2008 Essence Literary Award Nominees",
  4. ^ Tess Malone (September 11, 2009). "Introducing Gregory Pardlo: GW's Newest Poet & Professor". GW English News. Department of English, George Washington University. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
  5. ^ "Gregory Pardlo", From the Fishouse, Archived January 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Paolino, Tammy (June 12, 2015). "Poems, perspective and a Pulitzer". Courier-Post. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  7. ^ "Welcome to". Retrieved April 21, 2015.
  8. ^ Pardlo, Gregory (February 12, 2017). "The cost of defying the president". The New Yorker. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  9. ^ a b "Written By Himself", The American Poetry Review. Archived January 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Sarah Kuczynski. "Prof. Pardlo featured in 2010 vol. of The Best American Poetry". GW English News. Department of English, George Washington University. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
  11. ^ "Greg Pardlo: Wishing Well", Painted Bride Quarterly, March 30, 2013.
  12. ^ a b c " Biography". Archived from the original on April 22, 2015. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
  13. ^ Paolino, Tammy (February 11, 2016). "Pulitzer-winning poet joins Rutgers-Camden faculty". Courier-Post. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  14. ^ "La Petite Zine - Gregory Pardlo". Archived from the original on April 23, 2015. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
  15. ^ "Poetry Foundation "Harriet" Blog". Archived from the original on 2011-02-19. Retrieved 2010-10-07.
  16. ^ Jordan Davis, "Totem – Gregory Pardlo" (review), The Constant Critic, May 1, 2008.
  17. ^ "(Inter/Re)view of Greg Pardlo’s TOTEM" (audio), Post No Ills, August 5, 2008.
  18. ^ "recommended: gregory pardlo", Lots and Lots of Neat blog, August 10, 2009.
  19. ^ 2015 Pulitzer Prize for poetry

External links[edit]