Marilyn Hacker is an award-winning poet, translator, and editor. She is also a renowned teacher, a cancer survivor, and a prominent lesbian activist. She has published eleven books of poetry, beginning with Presentation Piece in 1974, which won the National Book Award for Poetry. Her other volumes include Love, Death, and the Changing of the Seasons (1986), Squares and Courtyards (2000), and, most recently, Desesperanto (2003).
Described as a neo-formalist, Hacker uses traditional poetic forms as a vehicle to explore contemporary themes. In her latest volume, she writes an ode to the two cities she calls home: Paris and New York City. Hacker was born in the Bronx, the only child of working-class Jews who were the first in their respective families to attend university. As editor of The Kenyon Review from 1990 to 1994, she encouraged the work of a number of emerging women, minority, and gay and lesbian writers. Her writing has appeared in anthologies of gay and lesbian poetry and in collections focusing on AIDS and women’s illnesses. Hacker received the Lambda Literary Award and The Nation’s Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize for Winter Numbers (1994), and the Poet’s Prize in 1996 for Selected Poems, 1965-1990 (1994). Her other honors include the Bernard F. Conners Prize from The Paris Review, the John Masefield Memorial Award of the Poetry Society of America, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Ingram Merrill Foundation.