Guest Editor
The Best American Poetry 1994

  A. R. AmmonsA. R. (“Archie”) Ammons was born in Whiteville, North Carolina, in 1926. He grew up on a North Carolina farm during the Great Depression and started writing poetry aboard a U. S. Navy destroyer escort in the South Pacific. After studying science at Wake Forest University, he completed his education at Berkeley. He worked briefly as the principal of an elementary school in Cape Hatteras and later managed a biological glass factory in southern New Jersey. Since 1964 he has taught at Cornell University, where he is the Goldwin Smith Professor of Poetry. He was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1981, the year the “genius awards” were introduced. He has also received the Bollingen Prize (for Sphere, in 1975), the National Book Critics Circle Award (for A Coast of Trees, in 1981), and the National Book Award, twice – for Collected Poems: 1951-1971 in 1973 and for the book length poem Garbage in 1993. All these titles were published by Norton. Ammon’s other books include Ommateum (1955), Tape for the Turn of the Year (1965), The Snow Poems (1977), Worldly Hopes (1982), and The Really Short Poems of A. R. Ammons (1990). He and his wife live in Ithaca, New York.

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