Biography of Marilyn Nelson
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.
Marilyn Nelson Poems
Which reminds me of another knock-on-wood memory. I was cycling with a male friend, through a small midwestern town. We came to a 4-way stop and stopped, chatting. As we started again,
The Lutherans sit stolidly in rows; only their children feel the holy ghost that makes them jerk and bobble and almost destroys the pious atmosphere for those
Five daughters, in the slant light on the porch, are bickering. The eldest has come home with new truths she can hardly wait to teach.
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.
Thank you for these tiny particles of ocean salt, pearl-necklace viruses, winged protozoans:
The House On Moscow Street
It's the ragged source of memory, a tarpaper-shingled bungalow whose floors tilt toward the porch, whose back yard ends abruptly
The Continental Army
As I lifted the kettle from the hob, I heard the sound of drums from far away. I paused a moment. Then that hot water got heavy. But I listened while I worked:
for Daniel "Chappie" James, General USAF and for the 332d Fighter Group Being black in America was the Original Catch,
The Lutherans sit stolidly in rows;
only their children feel the holy ghost
that makes them jerk and bobble and almost
destroys the pious atmosphere for those
whose reverence bows their backs as if in work.
The congregation sits, or stands to sing,
or chants the dusty creeds automaton.
Their voices drone like engines, on and on,
and they remain untouched by everything;