Valentine Poems Biography
Jean Valentine is an American poet, and currently the New York State Poet (2008–2010). Her poetry collection, Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems, 1965–2003, was awarded the 2004 National Book Award for Poetry.
Her most recent book Break the Glass (Copper Canyon Press, 2010) was a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Her first book, Dream Barker, won the Yale Series of Younger Poets competition in 1965. She has published poems widely in literary journals and magazines, including The New Yorker, and Harper's Magazine, and The American Poetry Review. Valentine was one of five poets including Charles Wright, Russell Edson, James Tate and Louise Gluck, whose work Lee Upton considered critically in The Muse of Abandonment: Origin, Identity, Mastery in Five American Poets (Bucknell University Press, 1998). She has held residencies from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, Ucross, and the Lannan foundation, among others.
She was born in Chicago, USA, received bachelor of arts and a master of arts degrees at Radcliffe College, and has lived most of her life in New York City. She has taught with the Graduate Writing Program at New York University, at Columbia University, at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan, and at Sarah Lawrence College. She is a faculty member at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She was married to the late American historian James Chace from 1957–1968, and they have two daughters, Sarah and Rebecca.
2004 National Book Award for Poetry (for Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems, 1965–2003)
1999 Shelley Memorial Award
1991 Maurice English Poetry Award
1988 Beatrice Hawley Award (for Home Deep Blue: New and Selected Poems)
1976 Guggenheim Fellowship
1972 National Endowment for the Arts - Literature Fellowship in Poetry
1965 Yale Series of Younger Poets
Jean Valentine's Works:
Full-length Poetry Collections
Break the Glass (2010, Copper Canyon Press)
Little Boat (2007, Wesleyan University Press)
Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems, 1965–2003 (2004, Wesleyan University Press) —winner of the National Book Award
The Cradle of the Real Life (2000, Wesleyan University Press)
Growing Darkness, Growing Light (1997, Carnegie Mellon University Press)
The Under Voice: Selected Poems (1995, Salmon Publishing)
The River at Wolf (1992, Alice James Books)
Home Deep Blue: New and Selected Poems (1989, Alice James Books)
The Messenger (1979, Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Ordinary Things (1974, Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Pilgrims (1969, Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Dream Barker, and Other Poems (1965, Yale University Press)
A longtime resident of New York City, Jean Valentine was named the State Poet of New York in 2008. Her first book of poems, Dream Barker and Other Poems, won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award in 1965. Subsequent collections of poems include The River at Wolf (1992), Little Boat (2007), and Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems, 1965–2003, which won the National Book Award in 2004.
Her lyric poems delve into dream lives with glimpses of the personal and political. In the New York Times Book Review, David Kalstone said of her work, “Valentine has a gift for tough strangeness, but also a dreamlike syntax and manner of arranging the lines of . . . short poems so as to draw us into the doubleness and fluency of feelings.” In a 2002 interview with Eve Grubin, Valentine commented about her work, “I am going towards the spiritual rather than away from it.” In addition to writing her own poems, she has translated work by the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam.
A respected teacher, Valentine has taught workshops at Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence College, and the 92nd Street Y in New York. She has been awarded a Bunting Institute Fellowship, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, and the Shelley Memorial Prize.