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Christian Wiman

photo of Christian Wiman
  • Acclaimed poet
  • Editor of Poetry magazine 2003-2013
  • Poetry translator
Born in Snyder, west Texas, as the second of three children and raised as a Southern Baptist, Christian Wiman (b. 1966) once described the environment of his upbringing as having been “saturated with religion.” However, during his years in college and for decades after, the religion of his childhood faded to near nonexistence. Wiman studied at Washington and Lee University, and while spending a semester studying at Oxford became interested in the poetry of William Butler Yeats and T.S. Eliot, which inspired him to begin writing poetry of his own. After graduating, Wiman spent the next several years traveling internationally, moving constantly, teaching tennis, and writing poetry. He spent time teaching at Stanford University, Northwestern University, and Lynchburg College, and eventually became the editor of Poetry magazine, where he served from 2003 to 2013. Wiman was married, and less than eight months afterward, on his thirty-ninth birthday, was diagnosed with a rare and incurable cancer. This led to a renewal of faith of sorts, about which Wiman said, “I was just finally able to assent to the faith that had long been latent within me.” Wiman’s more recent work reflects the spiritual change within him. Wiman has authored eight books of poetry, prose, and poems he has translated. His most recent prose book is My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013) and his most recent books of poetry are Every Riven Thing (FSG, 2010) and Once in the West (FSG, 2014). He currently teaches at Yale Divinity School and the Institute of Sacred Music, and resides in New Haven, Connecticut with his wife and twin daughters. 

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