A. Van Jordan


A. Van Jordan  earned a BA in English literature from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, and an MA in communications from Howard University. After attending poetry readings in the Washington, D.C., area in his late 20s, Jordan became interested in writing poetry. He received an MFA in creative writing from Warren Wilson College in 1998.

Jordan’s collections of poetry include Rise (2001), M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A (2005), and Quantum Lyrics (2007). Music, film, and history have influenced his work. The poems in M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A concern the life of MacNolia Cox, the first African American finalist in the National Spelling Competition in 1936. Quantum Lyrics delves into physics, racism, history, and Albert Einstein’s work for human rights. His most recent book, The Cineaste, marries his love of film with poetry in pieces that re-examine a wide range of seminal films such as Nosferatu (1922), The Homesteader (1919), Run Lola Run (1998), and Oldboy (2003) through the perspectives of both the voyeur and the character onscreen.

Rise won a PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award and was selected for the Book of the Month Club of the Academy of American Poets. M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A received the Anisfield-Wolf Award. Jordan has been the recipient of a Whiting Writers Award and a Pushcart Prize. He has taught at a number of graduate writing programs, among them the University of Texas at Austin, Warren Wilson College, and the University of Michigan.