Valentines Poems Biography
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.
Jean Valentine won the Yale Younger Poets Award for her first book, Dream Barker, in 1965. Her eleventh book of poetry, Break the Glass, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2010. Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems 1965 - 2003, was the winner of the 2004 National Book Award for Poetry. Valentine was the State Poet of New York from 2008-2010. She received the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets in 2009 and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2011. She has also received a Guggenheim Fellowship and awards from the NEA, The Bunting Institute, The Rockefeller Foundation, The New York Council for the Arts, and The New York Foundation for the Arts, as well as the Maurice English Prize, the Teasdale Poetry Prize, and The Poetry Society of America's Shelley Memorial Prize in 2000. She has taught at Sarah Lawrence College, the Graduate Writing Program of New York University, Columbia University, and the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan.