Mark Strand

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Mark Strand
Strand at Georgetown University, 2012
Born (1934-04-11)April 11, 1934
Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada
Died November 29, 2014(2014-11-29) (aged 80)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Occupation Poet, translator, novelist, essayist
Nationality American, Canadian
Education Antioch College;
Iowa Writers' Workshop

Mark Strand (April 11, 1934 – November 29, 2014) was a Canadian-born American poet, essayist and translator. He was appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1990 and received the Wallace Stevens Award in 2004. Strand was a professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University from 2005 until his death in 2014.


Strand was born in 1934 at Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada.[1] Raised in a secular Jewish family,[2][3] he spent his early years in North America and much of his adolescence in South and Central America. Strand graduated from Oakwood Friends School in 1951[4][5] and in 1957 earned his B.A. from Antioch College in Ohio.[6] He then studied painting under Josef Albers at Yale University, where he earned a B.F.A in 1959.[6] On a U.S.-Italy Fulbright Commission scholarship, Strand studied 19th-century Italian poetry in Florence in 1960–61.[6] He attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa the following year and earned a Master of Arts in 1962.[6] In 1965 he spent a year in Brazil as a Fulbright Lecturer.[7]

In 1981, Strand was elected a member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters.[8] He served as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress during the 1990–91 term.[9] In 1997, he left Johns Hopkins University to accept the Andrew MacLeish Distinguished Service Professorship of Social Thought at the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. From 2005 to his death, Strand taught literature and creative writing at Columbia University, in New York City.[6]

Strand received numerous awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship in 1987 and the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, for Blizzard of One.[6]

Strand died of liposarcoma on November 29, 2014, in Brooklyn, New York.[10][11]


Many of Strand's poems are nostalgic in tone, evoking the bays, fields, boats, and pines of his Prince Edward Island childhood. Strand has been compared to Robert Bly in his use of surrealism, though he attributes the surreal elements in his poems to an admiration of the works of Max Ernst, Giorgio de Chirico, and René Magritte.[12] Strand's poems use plain and concrete language, usually without rhyme or meter. In a 1971 interview, Strand said, "I feel very much a part of a new international style that has a lot to do with plainness of diction, a certain reliance on surrealist techniques, and a strong narrative element."[12]

Academic career[edit]

Strand's academic career took him to various colleges and universities, including:[7]

Teaching positions[edit]

Visiting professor[edit]


Strand has been awarded the following:[1]




  • 1978: The Monument, Ecco (see also The Monument, 1991, poetry) ISBN 9780880012744
  • 1982: Contributor: Claims for Poetry, edited by Donald Hall, University of Michigan Press
  • 1982: The Planet of Lost Things, for children
  • 1983: The Art of the Real, art criticism, C. N. Potter
  • 1985: The Night Book, for children
  • 1985: Mr. and Mrs. Baby and Other Stories, short stories, Knopf ISBN 9780880013864
  • 1986: Rembrandt Takes a Walk, for children
  • 1987: William Bailey, art criticism, Abrams
  • 1993: Contributor: Within This Garden: Photographs by Ruth Thorne-Thomsen, Columbia College Chicago/Aperture Foundation
  • 1994: Hopper, art criticism, Ecco Press ISBN 9780307957108
  • 2000: The Weather of Words: Poetic Invention, Knopf
  • 2000: With Eavan Boland, The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms, Norton (New York)

Poetry translations[edit]

  • 1971: 18 Poems from the Quechua, Halty Ferguson[1]
  • 1973: The Owl's Insomnia, poems by Rafael Alberti, Atheneum[1]
  • 1976: Souvenir of the Ancient World, poems by Carlos Drummond de Andrade, Antaeus Editions[14]
  • 2002: Looking for Poetry: Poems by Carlos Drummond de Andrade and Rafael Alberti, with Songs from the Quechua[14]
  • 1993: Contributor: "Canto IV", Dante's Inferno: Translations by Twenty Contemporary Poets edited by Daniel Halpern, Harper Perennial
  • 1986, according to one source, or 1987, according to another source:[7] Traveling in the Family, poems by Carlos Drummond de Andrade, with Thomas Colchie; translator with Elizabeth Bishop, Colchie, and Gregory Rabassa) Random House[7]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Mark Strand". Academy of American Poets. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  2. ^ Kevane, Bridgette (29 June 2011). "What Is Missing". Tablet Magazine. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  3. ^ Italie, Hillel (30 November 2014). "Pulitzer laureate Mark Strand dies at 80". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  4. ^ Associated Press (November 30, 2014). "Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mark Strand dies at 80". The Poughkeepsie Journal. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  5. ^ Shawn, Wallace (Fall 1998). "Mark Strand, The Art of Poetry No. 77". The Paris Review. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Grimes, William (29 November 2014). "Mark Strand, 80, Dies; Pulitzer-Winning Poet Laureate". New York Times. Retrieved 29 November 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h "Mark Strand". Poetry Foundation. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  8. ^ "Deceased Members". American Academy of Arts and Letters. Archived from the original on July 26, 2011. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  9. ^ "Poet Laureate Timeline: 1991-2000". Library of Congress. 2008. Retrieved 1 January 2009. 
  10. ^ Rivera, Joshua (30 November 2014). "Pulitzer-Winning Poet Laureate Mark Strand Dead at 80". Time. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  11. ^ "Mark Strand, former US poet laureate, dies aged 80". The Guardian. 30 November 2014. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  12. ^ a b Perkins, George; Perkins, Barbara (1988). Contemporary American Literature. New York: McGraw Hill. p. 953. ISBN 9780075549543. 
  13. ^ "The American Academy of Arts and Letters announces newly elected members and award winners". American Academy of Arts and Letters. April 14, 2009. Archived from the original on June 17, 2011. 
  14. ^ a b c "Mark Strand, UI Graduate 62MA (Former UI Faculty)". The University of Iowa Alumni Association. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 

External links[edit]