Award-winning writer Katha Pollitt is the author of two books of poetry, The Mind-Body Problem (Random House, 2009), and Antarctic Traveller (Knopf, 1982), winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. She has also authored several essay collections, including Learning to Drive and Other Life Stories (Random House, 2007). Pollitt’s column, “Subject to Debate” in The Nation magazine, was called “the best place to go for original thinking on the left” by The Washington Post.
As a poet, Pollitt has received a National Endowment for the Arts grant and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her poetry has most recently been anthologized in The Oxford Book of American Poetry (2006). In 2010 she was awarded The American Book Award for Lifetime Achievement.
These lines from her poem “Aere Perennius,” could well be said about Pollitt’s poems at large: “what are they but life insisting on its life,// its own small heat, Don’t let me pass away.
Born in New York City, Pollitt received an A.B. in philosophy from Radcliffe College and an M.F.A. in writing from Columbia University. Married to political theorist Steven Lukes, she lives in New York City.
“At the center of every poem lurks the poet, but Katha Pollitt balances the self-regard of the craft with a fervent interest in the profusion of the world–knickknacks, summer bungalows, dogs, bees, lilacs, mandarin oranges, and more. And her clear, observant eye brings it all into steady focus. This is one long-awaited volume that was well worth the wait.” —Billy Collins, former United States Poet Laureate
“It’s awfully good to have such a great-hearted poet as Katha Pollitt take on mortality’s darkest themes. Again and again she finds a human-sized crack of light and squeezes us through with her.”—Kay Ryan, United States Poet Laureate
“So much has happened to the world since Katha Pollitt published her debut collection, Antarctic Traveller, in 1982, yet what has happened to her poetry is a fascinating progress of distinction, of steadying insight, and of meditative enrichment. Poems like ‘Night Subway’ and ‘Trying to Write a Poem Against the War’ show an undaunted consciousness of this daunting quarter century, but Pollitt’s most surprising gift, to be savored only now in poem after poem, is the proof that primaveral raptures were literally premature, that our high middle ages are worth all they cost, that life’s truest poetry is in the second half.” —Richard Howard, winner of the Pulitzer Prize