Peter Balakian is the author of seven books of poems, four books of prose and two translations. His book, Ozone Journal
(2015), won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize. Other collections include Ziggurat
(2010), June-tree: New and Selected Poems 1974-2000
, Father Fisheye
(1979), Sad Days of Light
(1983), Reply From Wilderness Island
(1988), Dyer’s Thistle
(1996). The Press of Appletree Alley
has published four fine limited editions of his poems, with illustration. His highly acclaimed memoir Black Dog of Fate
is the winner of the PEN/Albrand Prize for memoir and the New York Times
Notable Book Award as well as The Best of the Year awards for the LA Times
and Publisher’s Weekly
Balakian is a major American voice, a poet and writer who is able to engage the discordant realities of contemporary life in all its starkness and difficulty—as well as in its moments of revelation, beauty, and resilience. Balakian’s poetry engages a wide range of realities including genocide, war, terrorism, climate change, AIDS epidemic, historical trauma and memory as well as the personal domains of love, death, art, and culture.
The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response
received the 2005 Raphael Lemkin Prize and was a New York Times
National Bestseller as well as a New York Times
Notable Book. He is also the author of Theodore Roethke’s Far Fields
(1989). His translation with Aris Sevag of Grigoris Balakian’s Armenian Golgotha: A Memoir of the Armenian Genocide
was a Washington Post
book of the year.
In 2016, the Republic of Armenia awarded Balakian with the 2016 Presidential Medal and, in 2007 the Movses Khorenatsi Medal, Armenia’s highest cultural award. Other prizes and awards and civic citations include a Guggenheim Fellowship; National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship; Virginia Quarterly Review; PEN/Martha Albrand Prize for Memoir; the Raphael Lemkin Prize for the best book in English on the subject of genocide and human rights’ and the Spendlove Prize for Social Justice, Tolerance, and Diplomacy (recipients include President Carter).
He is co-founder and co-editor with the poet Bruce Smith of the poetry magazine Graham House Review
, which was published from 1976-1996, and is the co-translator (with Nevart Yaghlian) of the book of poems Bloody News From My Friend
by the Armenian poet Siamanto.
Balakian was born in Teaneck N.J. He earned his B.A. from Bucknell University, an M.A. from New York University, and a Ph.D. in American Civilization, from Brown University. He has taught at Colgate University since 1980 where he is currently Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor of the Humanities in the Department of English, and Director of Creative Writing. He was the first Director of Colgate’s Center For Ethics and World Societies.