Jorie Graham was born in New York City in 1950. She was raised in Rome, Italy, and educated in French schools. She studied philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris before attending New York University as an undergraduate, where she studied filmmaking. She received an MFA in poetry from the University of Iowa.
Graham is the author of 15 collections of poetry, including To 2040 (Copper Canyon Press, 2023), Runaway (Ecco, 2020), Fast (Ecco, 2017), PLACE (Ecco 2012), Sea Change (Ecco, 2008) and The Dream of the Unified Field: Selected Poems 1974-1994, which won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Graham has also edited two anthologies, Earth Took of Earth: 100 Great Poems of the English Language (1996) and The Best American Poetry 1990.
About her work, James Longenbach wrote in the New York Times:
"For 30 years Jorie Graham has engaged the whole human contraption —
intellectual, global, domestic, apocalyptic — rather than the narrow
emotional slice of it most often reserved for poems. She thinks of the
poet not as a recorder but as a constructor of experience. Like Rilke
or Yeats, she imagines the hermetic poet as a public figure, someone
who addresses the most urgent philosophical and political issues of the
time simply by writing poems."
Her many honors include a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship and the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award from The American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.
She has taught at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop and
is currently the Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory at Harvard
University. She served as a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets
from 1997 to 2003.