Lyn Coffin

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Lyn Coffin
Born (1943-11-12) November 12, 1943 (age 75)
Flushing, New York
OccupationPoet, fiction writer, playwright, editor, translator
Alma materUniversity of Michigan

Lyn Coffin (born November 12, 1943) is an American poet, fiction writer, playwright, translator, non-fiction writer, editor.


While a student in Ann Arbor, Michigan, she won Major and Minor Hopwood Awards in every category. She was later Associate Editor of the Michigan Quarterly Review and taught English at the University of Washington, (Department of Continuing Education), Renton High School through WITS (Writers in the School), the University of Michigan, the (University of Michigan) Residential College, Detroit University, MIAD (Milwaukee Institute of Arts and Design), University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, Ilia State University, Tbilisi, Georgia, Jih High School, Marianske Lazne, Czechoslovakia, and Mando Technical Institute, as well as Council House, and The Summit at Capitol Hill.

Coffin is the author of thirty books of poetry, fiction, drama, nonfiction, and translation. She has published fiction, poetry and non-fiction in over fifty quarterlies and small magazines, including Catholic Digest and Time magazine. One of her fictions, originally published in the Michigan Quarterly Review appeared in Best American Short Stories 1979, edited by Joyce Carol Oates. Her plays have been performed at theaters in Malaysia, Singapore, Boston, New York (Off Off Broadway), Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Seattle. She has given poetry readings with Nobel Prize winners Joseph Brodsky and Czesław Miłosz, and Philip Levine, among others. She is a member of Washington Poets’ Association and Poets West and Greenwood Poets. Poezia Press [1] published Coffin's translation in shairi of The Knight in the Panther Skin Shota Rustaveli’s The Knight in the Panther Skin, a 12th-century epic poem from the country of Georgia. It has been largely unknown to English-speaking audiences because few translations have been produced. Coffin was awarded SABA, the Georgian National Literature Prize in 2016 [2]

"Coffin may be the most accomplished writer most Americans have never heard of." -Iron Twine Press: Seattle Poet Offers Epic 800 Years in the Making



  • Human Trappings, Abattoir Editions (1980)
  • Elegies by Jiří Orten, CVU Press, (1981). Translation from Czech.
  • The Plague Column by Jaroslav Seifert, CVU Press (1981). Translation from Czech used by the Nobel Committee in granting Seifert his prize.
  • The Poetry of Wickedness, Ithaca House (1982)
  • Poems of Akhmatova, W.W. Norton (1983). Translation from Russian. Reviewed in The New York Review of Books.
  • Crystals of the Unforeseen, Plain View Press (1999)
  • More than One Life, by Miloslava Holubova, Northwestern University Press (2000). Translation from Czech, with Zdenka Brodska, and Alex Zucker.
  • Islands in the Stream of Time, by Germain Droogenbroodt, (2008). Translation from Dutch, with the collaboration of the author.
  • White Picture", by Jiri Orten (2011). Translation from the Czech, with Eva Eckert, Zdenka Brodska, Leda Pugh. Night Publishing, UK, (2011).
  • "East and West", poems (and Mongolian translations), with Bavuudorj Tsog. Ulaanbataar, (2012).
  • "მე ორივე ვარ" ("I Am Both"). Poetry, fiction, non-fiction, translated into Georgian by Gia Jokhadze, Mertskuli (Tbilisi), 2012.
  • "Joseph Brodsky was Joseph Brodsky," Levan Kavleli Publishing, 2012 (This book was reviewed by Judith Roche, in Big Bridge, 2013)
  • "Georgian Anthology of Poetry". Translation from Georgian, ed, by Dodona Kiziria, with the help of Gia Jokhadze. Slavica (Indiana University), September, 2013.
  • "Animalarky," by Zaza Abiadnidze. Translation from Georgian, September, 2013.
  • "Miniatures," poetry by Giorgi Kekelidze. Translation from Georgian, October, 2013.
  • "Still Life with Snow", by Dato Barbakadze. Translation from Georgian, with Nato Alhazishvili, 2014 (This book received a $2000 translation award from the Georgian Ministry of Culture and Monuments.)
  • "A Taste of Cascadia," two plays. Whale Road Books, March, 2015.
  • "The First Honeymoon," short fiction. Iron Twine Press, April, 2015.
  • "A Marriage Without Consummation," poetry, with Givi Alkhazishvili. English and Georgian. Whale Road Books. April 2016.
  • "10 by 10" (plays by Lyn and Natalya Churlyaeva in Russian and English, face en face). Bedouin Books, August, 2015.
  • "The Knight in the Panther Skin," by Shota Rustaveli, poetry. Translation from Georgian. Poezia Press. September, 2015.
  • “Standing on Earth, the poetry of Mohsen Emadi,” forthcoming from Phoneme Media [3]. Translated from the Persian with the author, September, 2016, or Perseus Book Groups [4].
  • "A Boy Named Piccolo," translation from the Georgian ("Salamura," by Archil Sulakauri), with Nika Muskheli, illustrated by Vaho Muskheli. Forthcoming June, 2016, Transcendent Zero Press.
  • "Henry and Punkin," children's story, illustrated by Reza Bigonah, printed by Iron Twine Press. [5]. December 24, 2016
  • "The First Honeymoon," Iron Twine Press, 2017. Excerpts.
  • Whale Road Books published Rifles & Reception Lines, Lyn Coffin and Mercedes Luna Fuentes's collection of Spanish and English poetry.
  • This Green Life: New and Selected Poems. Transcendent Zero Press [6] February 6, 2017
  • The Knight in the Panther Skin Selected Aphorisms, Poezia Press, 2017.
  • This Green Life: New and Selected Poems, Translated into Spanish, forthcoming summer 2018, Pregunta Editions [7]
  • Blue Horses, the poetry of Galaktion Tabidze, translation from Georgian. Forthcoming from Poezia Press. Poesia Press. October, 2018.
  • Transcendent Zero Press will publish Lyn Coffin's novel, The Aftermath, fall 2018.

Short Fiction[edit]


  • "Five Poems", Aspen Leaves, Spring 1973
  • "To You Again", Michigan Quarterly Review, Fall 1973
  • "To Yevtushenko, Name Enough", New Orleans Review, Spring 1974
  • "The Death of Allen Ginsberg", Aspen Anthology, Winter 1976
  • "Salmon", New Orleans Review, Spring 1976
  • "Before This Was a Jungle", National College Poetry Review, Spring 1979; reprinted in Pegasus, Fall 1979
  • "The Plane and the Watcher", Iowa Review, Fall 1979
  • "Bank of America", Andover Review, Fall 1979.
  • "A Little Girl's Drawing", Michigan Quarterly Review, Fall 1979
  • "Four Poems", The Great Writers, University of Michigan, Summer 1979
  • "The Blackbird Looks Back", and "Cow, Drowning in Mud", Bits, 1980
  • "The Dream", Poetry Now, 1980
  • "Inheritance", Dakotah Territory, 1980
  • "Motel Aubade", Concerning Poetry, 1980
  • "Retail Outlets" and "Orpheus", Descant, 1980
  • "Genealogical Allegory", Poet Lore, Spring 1980
  • "Three Poems", Descant, Spring Summer 1980
  • "Initiation", Southern Humanities Review, Summer 1980
  • "Elegy #3" by Jiri Orten, TLS, International Poetry Review, Spring 1980
  • "The Thassos Kouros", Southern Humanities Review, Fall 1980
  • "A Statue of the Sacred Heart", Wind, 1980
  • "Oedipus and the Sphinx", Michigan Quarterly Review, Summer 1980
  • "Orton's Elegy No. 7", tr., Denver Quarterly, Spring 1980
  • "Crossing the Bridge", Kansas Quarterly, Fall 1980
  • "Force of One", Hollins Critic, October 1980
  • "The Affair is Over" and "You're Odysseus (But I'm the Hottentots)", Ball State University Forum, 1980
  • "In the Study, Just Before Lunch", "The Artwork on the Backs of Gargoyles", and "Good Friday, Going Hungry", Poet Lore, Winter 1980
  • "Brilliant Alliance", Literary Review, 1980
  • "The Dish Ran Away With the Spoon", Descant, Fall 1980
  • "When I was Crazy", and "Halfway Between Drownings", Descant, Winter
  • "Mirror Woman", Northeast Review, Winter 1981
  • "The Baby and After" and "Ezra", Green River Review, 1981
  • "A Life", Southwest Review, 1981, Poet Lore, Winter 1981
  • "Numbs", Hollins Critic, December 1981
  • "The Dark Facts", "A Day of the Pavement", "Emily Dickinson Meets Ogden Nash", and "Bedtime", The Portland Review, Winter 1981
  • "Stone Boat", Hollins Critic, December 1981
  • "Rousseau: A Mirror Sonnet" and "An Old Snapshot", Green River Review
  • "Another Life", Poet Lore, 1981
  • "Floating Women", and "Duel", Wind, 1982
  • "Guess Who", "Rhapsody on Terry", "Shadow Children", and "On His Deathbed", Webster Review, Spring 1982
  • "Pigs on Pilgrimage", Focus/Midwest, 1982
  • "Lady Psychologist, Leaving Home", Aspen Leaves Anthology, 1982
  • "Escape from the Locker Room", Poetry Now, 1982
  • "Colors Like Spokane", Southern Humanities Review, Spring 1982
  • "Riverbeds in Times of Drought", Literary Review, Spring 1982
  • "Sick and Tired of Marriage", "Fox Vita", "Days of the Week", and "Relatives", Green River Review, 1982
  • "Stone Wine", Poet Lore, 1982
  • "Armored Girl", Focus/Midwest, 1982
  • "Amelia and John", Hiram Poetry Review, Fall/Winter 1982
  • "Shadow Children", Webster Review, 1982
  • Jiri Orton's Elegies, tr. Cross Currents, 1982
  • "Stepfather", and "Surfacing", Chiaroscuro, 1983
  • "Opium Fields in Time of War", Poet Lore, 1983
  • "An Old Bachelor", Kansas Quarterly Review, January 1983
  • "The Empty House" and "Sea of Children, Prairie Schooner, 1983
  • "In Memory of Roethke" and "Ezra", Green River Review, 1983
  • Two Poems by Nezval, Cross Currents, 1983
  • "Me and Me", Northeast Review, 1983/1984
  • "Deathbed/Childbed", Hollins Critic, April 1983
  • "Ending End", Hollins Critic, December 1983
  • "Cold Venus at the Typewriter", Poet Lore, 1983
  • Seifert's "The Plague Monument", tr. Cross Currents, 1983
  • Three Poems by Jarostav Seifert, tr. Concerning Poetry, 1984
  • "To the King from the Candle", The Blackbird Looks Back", "Mad Poem", and "In the Dance Studio", Paunch, January 1984
  • "The Blank Baby", Michigan Quarterly Review, Winter 1984
  • "The Poet Falls in Love", Poultry, 1984
  • Rilke translations, Cross Currents, 1984
  • "Gingerbread Men", Blue Ox Review, 1985
  • "She Longs For Her White Lover", Hollins Critic, December 1985
  • "Milking the Cow of Your Dreams" and "Dream Corder", New Collage, Spring 1985
  • "Another Life", New Collage, Summer 1986
  • "Molto Vivace", Confrontation, Spring/Summer 1986
  • "Unwrapped Gifts", Footwork, 1986
  • "Pigs On Pilgrimage", Midwest Review
  • "The Widower Grows Lustful", Mid-American Review, 1986
  • "The Plague Monument", and "Ivanescence", Seifert tr. Cross Currents
  • Brodsky's "Lithuanian Nocturne", tr. Cross Currents, 1986
  • "The Pope in South America", "Our Resident Executioner", Bernini's St. Theresa", and "Father/Daughter", Gryphon, 1986
  • Collection of Poems by Uwe Kolbe, tr. with B. Walker, Cross Currents
  • "Wherever You Go There You Are", Cross Currents, 1987
  • "Bedtime", The Blue Ox Review, Fall 1987
  • "Sister Mary Algebra", "Me and Me", "Reading by the Brass Lamp", "Marilyn", The Blue Moon Review, 1998
  • "What is Prohibited", "Black Picture", "Snowflakes", "What Are We?", and "Screaming", The Virginia Quarterly, 2007
  • "Ned's Aria," "Rapunzel," "Paradelle on Love," "Dying in the Hospital," "After the Funeral," "Eurydice's Motivation" were in Limbs of the Pine, Peaks of the Range, Rose Alley Press, {}. 2007.
  • "When I Was Crazy," "103 Degrees,""The Easy Miracle," "The Gulf War," were in Many Trails to the Summit, Rose Alley Press, {}, 2010
  • excerpt from The Knight in the Panther Skin, Big Bridge magazine. August, 2015.


  • "French Fries in a Wineglass" (performed, Eclectic Theater{{} Seattle. July 2017.
  • "The Girl in the Moon" (performed, Eclectic Theater, [[}} Seattle. July, 2015.)
  • "Another Passage" (a script-in-hand reading at Arts West as part of Seattle Playwrights' Studio's Showcase, 2012 by Barbara Lindsay
  • "Vera's Red Hat" (performed at Stone Soup Theater, Seattle, summer, 2011)
  • "Lutefisk" (performed in New York, spring, 2010 and Nordic Museum, summer, 2010)
  • "Rodin's Girl Friend" (performed at TaDa! Theater in New York, part of "One Woman Standing," spring, 2010.)
  • "His Russian Wife" (performed at Boston University's Playwright Theater, as part of their Russian Festival, February, 2010.)
  • "Seabird," "The Box," "The Museum," "The Tomcat" (performed at Where Eagles Dare Theater in New York, summer, 2009)
  • "Lutefisk" (performed at Odd Duck Studios in Seattle, Washington, as part of Seattle Playwrights' Collective's Showcase, 2009.)
  • "The Table" (performed in Singapore, as part of Short + Sweet, summer, 2009.
  • "The Only Pretty Thing in the Room" (performed at ArtsWest in Seattle, Washington, as part of Seattle Playwrights' Studio's Showcase, 2009.
  • "The Difference Between Altoona and Alpena" (performed at ArtsWest in Seattle, Washington, as part of Seattle Playwrights' Studio's Showcase, 2008.
  • "Thin Walls" (performed at the Craft Theatre in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the Attic Theatre in Detroit, Michigan, 1987)
  • "Nocturnal Emissions" (performed at the Performance Network Theatre in Ann Arbor, Michigan)
  • "The Characters are Anyone, The Place Anywhere" (performed at The Performance Network Theatre in Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1986)
  • "Two Square Meals" (performed at the Performance Network Theatre in Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1985, and at the Trueblood Theatre at the University of Michigan.
  • "This Side Up" (performed at the Performance Network Theatre in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and at the Craft Theatre, Ann Arbor, Michigan, as a special performance to benefit St. Joseph's Hospital Cancer Fund, 1985)
  • "Halfway Measures" (performed script-in-hand at the Performance Network Theatre in Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1985)
  • "A Stone's Throw" (read at the Attic Theatre in Detroit, Michigan, 1982)
  • "The Atomic Weight of Potassium" (read at the Performance Network Theatre in Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1983)
  • "The Atomic Weight of Potassium" (performed at the Performance Network Theatre in Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1983)
  • "Acting Out" (performed script-in-hand at the Performance Network Theatre in Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1983)
  • "Straws in the Wind" (read and performed at the Performance Network Theatre in Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1983)
  • "Genie in a Klein Bottle" (performed script-in-hand at the Performance Network Theatre in Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1984)
  • "The Maze in the Aquarium"
  • "Fries in a Wineglass"
  • "Tonsils and Adenoids"

Coffin also translated and adapted Milan Uhde's play Ave Maria, Played Softly for the stage. This was performed at Performance Network Theatre in Ann Arbor, c. 1985.

Essays and articles[edit]

  • "Guantanamo in Tacoma," "The N Word," and other short essays,, 2010-2013
  • "On Jaroslav Seifert", Concerning Poetry, international issue, vol. 17, no. 2, 1984
  • "A.R. Ammons", Encyclopedia of World Literature in the Twentieth Century, vol. 1, A-D, 1981
  • "The Inside is Outside; A Review of Six First Books of Poetry", Michigan Quarterly Review, Fall 1978
  • "Benjamin Britten's War Requiem", Generation, 1964
  • "Dear Ron: A Review of Ron Sukenick's stories", Golden Handcuffs Review, Fall 2007
  • "So Many Windows-- A Review of Judith Roche's The Wisdom of the Body", Big Bridge, 2008

External links[edit]