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Joshua Weiner

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Professor, English

(301) 405-3797

3113 Tawes Hall
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Research Expertise

Creative Writing
Modernist
Poetics
Post-1900 British and Irish
Postmodern and Contemporary

I'm a poet living in Washington D.C. with my wife, the novelist Sarah Blake, and our two boys. I spend a lot of my time reading poems and trying to write them, but on occasion I commit criticism, and have published research on the poets Thomas McGrath, Mina Loy, and Thom Gunn, as well as essays on Emily Dickinson & Thelonious Monk, Fulke Greville, Lynette Roberts, Charles Reznikoff, Philip Larkin, Seamus Heaney, Kenneth Koch, William Carlos Williams, and others.  I've also written on German language poets and fiction writers, such as Gottfried Benn, Ernst Meister, Lutz Seiler, Anna Seghers, Christa Wolf, Brecht, and Rilke; and have tried my hand at translating some of them as well.  In addition to teaching the poetry workshops offered by the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Maryland, I've taught graduate seminars on the long poem; modern British poetry; postmodern American poetry; poetry & materialism from Edmund Spenser to Anne Carson (with Gerard Passannante); 'Ecopoetics: A Genealogy (with Gerard Passannante); a transhistorical/transnational poetics seminar called 'God Death Time Space Language Form'; and, most recently, 'Squaring the Circle: Readings in the Prose Poem, 1869-2019.'

Awards & Grants

Sarah Maguire Translation Prize from the Poetry Translation Centre

The Sarah Maguire Prize for Poetry in Translation has been established in the memory of Sarah Maguire (1957-2017), the founder of the Poetry Translation Centre and champion of international poetry.

English

Lead: Joshua Weiner
Dates:

Anniversary Snow by Yang Lian, translated from Chinese by by Brian Holton, has won the inaugural Sarah Maguire Prize for Poetry In Translation. UMD English professor Joshua Weiner worked on the translation team with other leading English-language poets Pascale Petit, Fiona Sampson, W N Herbert and George Szirtes.

Learn more.

Guggenheim Fellowship

Guggenheim Fellowships are intended for men and women who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.

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Lead: Joshua Weiner
Dates:
The Foundation receives between 3,500 and 4,000 applications each year, and approximately 200 Fellowships are awarded each year.

Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship

The Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship is given annually to a U.S.-born poet to spend one year outside North America in a country the recipient feels will most advance his or her work.

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Lead: Joshua Weiner
Dates:

When poet Amy Lowell died in 1925, her will established the scholarship, which is administered by the trustees at the law firm of Choate, Hall & Stewart in Boston, Massachusetts.

ALSCW Fellowship

Vermont Studio Center

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Lead: Joshua Weiner
Dates:

ALSCW invites writes and translators to apply for the ALSCW Fellowship at Vermont Studio Center. This fully-funded, four-week residency at VSC is awarded to a current member of the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers (ALSCW). This fellowship is open to all of the Association’s creative writers and literary translators. The ALSCW is devoted to the reading and writing of literature, criticism, and scholarship.

Hawthornden International Writers Fellowship

Hawthornden Literary Retreat at Hawthornden Castle in Scotland was founded to provide a peaceful setting for creative writers to work without disturbance.

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Lead: Joshua Weiner
Dates:

The Retreat receives writers for 10 months of the year. It houses six writers at a time, known as Hawthornden Fellows, in sessions lasting four weeks each.

 

Larry Levis Reading Prize

From Virginia Commonwealth University

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Lead: Joshua Weiner
Dates:

Awarded by the Department of English and its MFA in Creative Writing program at Virginia Commonwealth University, the prize is given annually in the name of the late Larry Levis for the best first or second book of poetry published in the previous calendar year.

The Rome Prize

He is the recipient of a 2002 Whiting Writer's Award and the 2003-2004 Rome Prize from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters

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Lead: Joshua Weiner
Dates:
The Rome Prize is awarded by the American Academy in Rome, in Rome, Italy. Approximately thirty scholars and artists are selected each year to receive a study fellowship at the academy. Prizes have been awarded annually since 1921.

Whiting Foundation Writers' Award

Since 1985, the Foundation has supported creative writing through the Whiting Awards, given annually to ten emerging writers in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama.

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Lead: Joshua Weiner
Dates:

The Whiting Award is an American award presented annually to ten emerging writers in fiction, nonfiction, poetry and plays.

Publications

Flight and Metamorphosis

Nelly Sachs; Translated from the German by Joshua Weiner with Linda B. Parshall Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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Lead: Joshua Weiner
Dates:
Flight and Metamorphosis cover

This central collection by the poet, dramatist, and Nobel laureate Nelly Sachs—newly translated from the German by Joshua Weiner (with Linda B. Parshall)—reveals the visionary poet’s remarkable power of creation and transformation.

Flight and Metamorphosis marks the culmination of Nelly Sachs’s development as a poet. Sachs, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1966, speaks from her own condition as a refugee from Nazi Germany—her loneliness while living in a small Stockholm flat with her elderly mother, her exile, her alienation, her feelings of romantic bereavement, and her search for the divine. Forced onto a journey of endless change, Sachs created her own path forward.

From these sublime poems, she emerges as a visionary, one who harnesses language’s essential power to create and transform our world. Joshua Weiner’s translations are the first in more than half a century to elucidate Sachs’s enduring poetic power and relevance.

Everything I Do I Do Good: Trumpoems

So, the world gets smaller as the United States and Europe come closer in yet another way. One of the things we share, of course, and that the U.S. has shared now, particularly, with Germany, for quite a while, is the political phenomenon and expression

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Lead: Joshua Weiner
Dates:
I think that here, in Germany, populism has been perceived lately and all too accurately, as a problem and an opportunity–that is, its ideological plasticity allows it, as a notion and a political platform, to be picked up not only by the left and the right, but to be used by each of them against the other. Why else would or could Chancellor Angela Merkel adopt an anti-populist stance in opposition to both Die Linke and AfD parties as she navigated through the ideological Scylla & Charybdis on her way to a fourth term? Back in the States, we remain rather mystified by the notion of populism, maybe because we are still tangled in its roots in late-19th century politics and the Midwestern “heartland” ideals that continue to define much of how Americans view their country.

Berlin Notebook: Where are the Refugees?

The chronicle of a fall and spring in Berlin during the peak influx of refugees into Europe in 2015-16, Joshua Weiner’s Berlin Notebook opens a new view on German society’s attempt to cope with an impossible situation.

English | Center for Literary and Comparative Studies

Lead: Joshua Weiner
Dates:

from the publishers:

The chronicle of a fall and spring in Berlin during the peak influx of refugees into Europe in 2015-16, Joshua Weiner’s Berlin Notebook opens a new view on German society’s attempt to cope with an impossible situation: millions of people displaced by the Syrian civil war, fleeing violence, and seeking safety and the possibilities of a new life in the west. As some Germans, feeling the burden of the nation’s dark past, try to aid and shelter desperate asylum seekers, others are skeptical of the government’s ability to contain the growing numbers; they feel the danger of hostile strangers, and the threat to the nation’s culture and identity. Unlike other contemporary reports on the situation in Europe, Weiner’s sui generis writing includes interviews not only with refugees from the east, but also everyday Berliners, natives and ex-pats – musicians, poets, shopkeepers, students, activists, rabbis, museum guides, artists, intellectuals, and those, too, who have joined the rising far-right Alternative for Germany party, and the Pegida movement against immigration. Intermixed with interviews, reportage, and meditations on life in Europe’s fastest growing capital city, Weiner thinks about the language and literature of the country, weaving together strands of its ancient and more recent history with meditations on Goethe, Brecht, Arendt, Heidegger, Joseph Roth and others that inflect our thinking about refugees, nationhood, and our ethical connection to strangers.

Berlin Notebook

Joshua Weiner's Berlin Notebook opens a new view on German society's attempt to cope with an impossible situation.

English

Lead: Joshua Weiner
Dates:
Millions of people displaced by the Syrian civil war, fleeing violence, and seeking safety and the possibilities of a new life in the west. As some Germans, feeling the burden of the nation's dark past, try to aid and shelter desperate asylum seekers, others are skeptical of the government's ability to contain the growing numbers; they feel the danger of hostile strangers, and the threat to the nation's culture and identity. Unlike other contemporary reports on the situation in Europe, Weiner's sui generis writing includes interviews not only with refugees from the east, but also everyday Berliners, natives and ex-pats – musicians, poets, shopkeepers, students, activists, rabbis, museum guides, artists, intellectuals, and those, too, who have joined the rising far-right Alternative for Germany party, and the Pegida movement against immigration. Intermixed with interviews, reportage, and meditations on life in Europe's fastest growing capital city, Weiner thinks about the language and literature of the country, weaving together strands of its ancient and more recent history with meditations on Goethe, Brecht, Arendt, Heidegger, Joseph Roth and others that inflect our thinking about refugees, nationhood, and our ethical connection to strangers.

Publications Since 2015

Publications by Joshua Weiner since 2015

English

Lead: Joshua Weiner
Dates:

PN Review, Oversound, Poetry Northwest, AzonaL, New England Review, Provincetown Arts, Five Points, Poetry, The Account, Georgia Review, B O D Y, Literary Imagination, Manchester Review, Great River Review, Cortland Review, Tikkun, Scoundrel Time, Lana Turner, Molly Bloom, Matter, Writer's Chronicle, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Ploughshares, Split This Rock, Threepenny Review, Chicago Review, American Poetry Review, Poetry Daily, Literary Hub.

The Figure of a Man Being Swallowed by a Fish

At the heart of Joshua Weiner’s new book is an extended poem with a bold political dimension and great intellectual ambition.

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Lead: Joshua Weiner
Dates:

At the heart of Joshua Weiner’s new book is an extended poem with a bold political dimension and great intellectual ambition. It fuses the poet’s point of view with Walt Whitman’s to narrate a decentered time-traveling collage about Rock Creek, a tributary of the Potomac that runs through Washington, DC. For Weiner, Rock Creek is the location of myriad kinds of movement, streaming, and joining: personal enterprise and financial capital; national politics, murder, sex, and homelessness; the Civil War and collective history; music, spiritual awakening, personal memory, and pastoral vision. The questions that arise from the opening foundational poem inform the others in the collection, which range widely from the dramatic arrival of an uncanny charismatic totem that titles the volume to intimate reflections on family, illness, and dream visions. 

 

At the Barriers: On the Poetry of Thom Gunn

Maverick gay poetic icon Thom Gunn (1929–2004) and his body of work have long dared the British and American poetry establishments either to claim or disavow him.

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Lead: Joshua Weiner
Dates:
The first book-length study of this major poet, At the Barriers surveys Gunn’s career from his youth in 1930s Britain to his final years in California, from his earliest publications to his later unpublished notebooks, bringing together some of the most important poet-critics from both sides of the Atlantic to assess his oeuvre. This landmark volume traces how Gunn, in both his life and his writings, pushed at boundaries of different kinds, be they geographic, sexual, or poetic. At the Barriers will solidify Gunn’s rightful place in the pantheon of Anglo-American letters.

From the Book of Giants

The most powerful poems in Weiner's second collection combine narrative and lyric elements and range across subjects and kinds of speech.

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Lead: Joshua Weiner
Dates:
An account of a son's baseball game on the White House lawn that somehow connects the dots between Pol Pot, Cal Ripken, our current president and the Wild Cherry refrain "play that funky music, white boy... till you die." A later long poem riffs on Berkeley in the '90s and intertwines the stories of a local "life-artist" called the Polka Dot Man and an overzealous activist killed by an overzealous cop. These poems aren't political in any easy way, but have politics, memory and language at their center in a manner that recalls former poet laureate Robert Hass's work. When the lines aren't tensed enough, or when Weiner (The World's Room, 2001) loses himself in reverie without pitting reason against it, the poems can edge toward cliché. But these moments are relatively few—Weiner's formal and lyric gifts both soothe and shock in these poems.

The World's Room

The World's Room is a dynamic first collection in which the literary and the personal, the elevated and the slangy, the sacred and the profane are beautifully intertwined.

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Lead: Joshua Weiner
Dates:

The World's Room is a dynamic first collection in which the literary and the personal, the elevated and the slangy, the sacred and the profane are beautifully intertwined. From nursery rhymes to riddles to prose poems, Joshua Weiner's work displays boundless imaginative and linguistic possibilities.