Marilyn Nelson

(1946 / Cleveland / United States)

Biography of Marilyn Nelson

Marilyn Nelson poet

Marilyn Nelson (born April 26, 1946) is an American poet, translator and children's book author. She is the author or translator of twelve books and three chapbooks.
From 1978 to 1994 she wrote books as Marilyn Nelson Waniek.
Nelson was born on April 26, 1946 in Cleveland, Ohio to Melvin M. Nelson, a U.S. serviceman in the Air Force, and Johnnie Mitchell Nelson, a teacher. She was brought up living on military bases, and began writing while in elementary school. She earned her B.A. from the University of California-Davis, and an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1970, and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1979.
She is a professor emeritus of English at the University of Connecticut and the founder and director of Soul Mountain Retreat. She was poet laureate of the State of Connecticut from 2001-2006.
Her poetry collections include The Homeplace (Louisiana State University Press), which won the 1992 Anisfield-Wolf Award, and was a finalist for the 1991 National Book Award; and The Fields Of Praise: New And Selected Poems (Louisiana State University Press), won the 1998 Poets' Prize, and was a finalist for the 1997 National Book Award. Her honors include two NEA creative writing fellowships, the 1990 Connecticut Arts Award, a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship, and a 2001 Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2012, the Poetry Society of America awarded her the Frost Medal. In 2013, Nelson was elected a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

PoemHunter.com Updates

Mama's Promise

I have no answer to the blank inequity
of a four-year-old dying of cancer.
I saw her on TV and wept
with my mouth full of meatloaf.

I constantly flash on disasters now;
red lights shout Warning. Danger.
everywhere I look.
I buckle him in, but what if a car

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