Biography of Gregory Pardlo
Gregory Pardlo (born November 24, 1968) is an American poet, writer, and professor, whose book Digest won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. His poems, reviews, and translations have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Callaloo, Poet Lore, Harvard Review, Ploughshares, and on National Public Radio. His work has been praised for its “language simultaneously urban and highbrow… snapshots of a life that is so specific it becomes universal.”
Gregory Pardlo’s first volume of poems, Totem, was chosen by Brenda Hillman as the winner of the 2007 American Poetry Review / Honickman First Book Prize, distributed by Copper Canyon Press. The manuscript for Totem was also a semifinalist for the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets, a finalist for the National Poetry Series, and a finalist for the inaugural Essence Magazine Literary Award in Poetry. Pardlo is the translator of the full-length poetry collection Pencil of Rays and Spike Mace by Danish poet Niels Lyngsø.
Born in Philadelphia, Pardlo grew up in Willingboro, New Jersey. His younger brother is Robbie Pardlo, an American musician formerly of R&B group City High.
Gregory Pardlo received his B.A. in English from Rutgers University-Camden. In 2001, he earned his M.F.A. from New York University as a New York Times Fellow in Poetry. He has been the recipient of additional fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Cave Canem Foundation, the MacDowell Artist's Colony, the Seaside Institute, the Lotos Club Foundation, and City University of New York, as well as a translation grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Pardlo’s poem “Written by Himself” appeared in The Best American Poetry 2010 anthology series edited by David Lehman and Amy Gerstler, following initial publication in The American Poetry Review. His poem "Wishing Well" appeared in The Best American Poetry 2014, guest edited by Terrance Hayes, following initial publication in Painted Bride Quarterly.
Pardlo serves as an Associate Editor for the literary journal Callaloo. He has led writing workshops for the PEN American Center, American Poetry Review / Young Voices Program, The Frost Place Conference, Callaloo Creative Writer’s Workshop, and Jamaica’s Calabash International Literary Festival, among others. He is currently a Teaching Fellow at Columbia University.
Pardlo has previously taught at the George Washington University, Medgar Evers College, The New School University, John Jay College, Hunter College, and NYU.
Gregory Pardlo Poems
Epistemology of the Phone Booth
I found the scrap of City Paper classified, the 1-900 number and photos like candidates there, in love's voting machine.
Atlantic City Sunday Morning
Plow-piled snow shrouded in shadow from the abbreviating sun, snow frosted with the exhaust of tour buses. Pigeons shift in congress. Sun glints windshields & chrome
Those hammer-ons on Over the Hills made my fingers bleed. That is, my devotion to their shapes made my fingers bleed.
Written by Himself
I was born in minutes in a roadside kitchen a skillet whispering my name. I was born to rainwater and lye; I was born across the river where I
I dragged my twelve-year-old cousin to see the Broadway production of A Raisin in the Sun because the hip-hop mogul
He heard in curtains of sleet cleaving from magnolia leaves encrypted Aztec frequencies, he said. When the sun
For Which it Stands
For a flag! I answered facetiously. A flag of tomorrow, fluent in fire, not just the whispers, lisps, not just the still there of powdered wigs, dry winds. Who wants a speckled
The girls turning double-dutch bob & weave like boxers pulling punches, shadowing each other,
He heard in curtains of sleet cleaving
from magnolia leaves encrypted Aztec
frequencies, he said. When the sun
god liquors loose each ashen tongue
the planet tattles. We are advised
to listen: this he'd grunt to signal his
dwindling fuse and the bartender would
show him the door. In his honor I tune