Photo Credit: Florence Trocmé
Her first collection Presentation Piece (The Viking Press, 1974) was followed by Separations (Alfred A. Knopf & Co, 1976), Taking Notice (Knopf, 1980) and Assumptions (Knopf, 1985). Love, Death and the Changing of the Seasons appeared first in the US (Arbor House/Wm. Morrow, 1986) and later in the UK (Onlywomen Press, 1987). The Hang-Gilder’s Daughter (Onlywomen Press) and Going Back to the River (Random House) followed in 1990. Her Selected Poems, 1965-1990, and Winter Numbers (both W.W. Norton & Co, 1994), preceded Squares and Courtyards (Norton, 2000), Four Cities: Collected Early Poems and Desesperanto: Poems 1999-2002 (both Norton, 2003). Two French language editions of her poems have also appeared: Fleuves et Retours (Editions Amiot-Lenganey, 1993) and La Rue Palimpseste (Les Editions de la Difference, 2004). Her poems have appeared in almost every significant literary journal, and more than fifty anthologies of contemporary poetry since the 1980’s. Among other distinctions, she has received the National Book Award, the Academy of American Poets’ Lenore Marshall Prize, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and, in France, the Prix Max Jacob Étranger
Amongst those francophone poets she has translated into English are Vénus Khoury-Ghata for Here There was Once a Country (Oberlin College Press, 2001), She Says (Graywolf Press, 2003) and A House at the Edge of Tears (Graywolf Press, 2005); Emmanuel Moses for Latest News of Mr Nobody (The Other Press, 2005) and Claire Malroux’s Edge (Wake Forest University Press, 1996), A Long-Gone Sun (Sheep Meadow Press, 2000) and Birds and Bison (Sheep Meadow Press, 2005). Important translations of poems by Nicole Brossard, Marie Etienne, Guy Goffette, Anne Hébert, Hédi Kaddour, Habib Tengour, André Velter and others appear in 20th Century French Poems, ed. by Stephen Romer (Faber & Faber, 2002) and The Yale Anthology of 20th Century French Poetry , ed. by Mary Ann Caws (Yale University Press, 2003).
Professor Hacker also has many years service as editor or co-editor on a range of journals and literary magazines including City (1965-9), Quark: A Quarterly of Speculative Fiction (1969-71), The Little Magazine (1977-80), 13th Moon: A Feminist Literary Magazine (1982-86) and The Kenyon Review (1990-4). In addition, she has edited or guest edited special issues of Ploughshares, Poetry and Siècle 21 . Her essays on such subjects as contemporary French poetry, poetic form and the American poetry scene have appeared in a range of journals and publications including PN Review and the Encyclopaedia of American Poetry (Oxford University Press, 2003).
She teaches at the City College of New York and the CUNY Graduate Center, and divides her time between New York and Paris.
In a time of loss, Marilyn Hacker is writing at the height of her powers. And I mean human powers, not merely her admirable craftswoman’s skills. Hacker has always been the kind of formalist for whom traditional form is challenge and play, yes, but also the necessary container and shaper of her impulses to excess— excess desire, pleasure, fear, anger, grief, excess attention to the minute abundances and shatterings of our world. Food and lovemaking. Streets and friendships. History. The weather, neighbors. If good form in poetry is often associated with good white manners, Hacker has always broken that mold. Her blank verse, sonnets, sapphics, and sestinas are typically in the service of the unmannerly, and commonly of the insulted and injured. That she writes as a lesbian is a part of that story but only a part. She has many heroes, many links in her human chain.