Biographical Note: Anne Stevenson
Anne Stevenson was born in England in January, 1933, when her American father, Charles L. Stevenson, was studying philosophy under Wittgenstein and G.E. Moore at Cambridge. Stevenson made his name as a philosopher in 1943 with a controversial book, Ethics and Language, while he was teaching at Yale. He also taught at Harvard and other universities, but for most of his life, he was a professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Her mother, Louise Destler Stevenson, much loved in Ann Arbor for her kindness and hospitality, had gifts as a teacher and a writer of fiction, but she chiefly devoted herself to the education of her daughters, of whom Anne was the oldest of three. In Ann Arbor, Anne attended the University High School before studying music and literature at Michigan University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, with a Major Hopwood Award for Poetry in 1955. After marriage and divorce, she returned to Ann Arbor to take an MA in English in 1960-61, but she has since lived most of her life in Britain. She is the author of sixteen collections of poetry, five of which have been published by Bloodaxe Books since Oxford University Press dropped its poetry list in 1998. Stone Milk (2007) and her forthcoming collection, Astonishment, are available as single volumes, together with her collected Poems 1955 – 2005, which reprints nearly all the poems represented in earlier books. Bitter Fame, her biography of Sylvia Plath, was published by Viking/ Penguin in 1989. Other critical books include Five Looks at Elizabeth Bishop (Bloodaxe, 2006) and Between the Iceberg and the Ship: Selected Essays (University of Michigan Press, 1998).
Married, with three grown up children and six grandchildren, Anne Stevenson lives with her husband, Peter Lucas, in Durham City, England, where in 2002 she was the inaugural recipient of the Northern Rock Foundation Writers Award. In the autumn of 2007 she was awarded The Neglected Masters Award from the Poetry Foundation of America, The Lannan Prize for a lifetime’s achievement in poetry and the Taylor-Aiken Poet of the Year award by the University of the South in Tennessee. In connection with The Neglected Masters Award, the Library of America published a generous Selected Poems, edited with an introduction by the (then) British Poet Laureate, Andrew Motion, in April 2008.
Brief Curriculum Vitae
Born in Cambridge, England. Father, C.L.Stevenson, was studying philosophy at Cambridge after taking a degree from Yale. (He is known for his books, Ethics and Language and Facts and Values.)
1934 - 45
Early years in Cambridge, Mass. (Harvard) and New Haven (Yale). A sister, Diana, born.
1945 - 47
Family lived in Berkeley, Calif. and Chicago before moving to Ann Arbor, Michigan. A second sister, Laura, born.
Graduated from University of Michigan High School. Entered the U of M Music School, studying piano and cello.
Graduated, Phi Beta Kappa, from University of Michigan with a Humanities Degree and a Major Hopwood Prize for poetry.
1954 - 61
School-teaching in England before marrying. Daughter Caroline born in 1957. Lived in Belfast, New York, Mississippi. Divorced and returned to Ann Arbor to take Masters Degree in English Literature. Began to write poetry under Donald Hall. Was a teaching assistant to the poet Radcliffe Squires.
1962 - 65
Teaching at the Cambridge School of Weston, Massachusetts. Second marriage to Mark Elvin in Cambridge, Mass. Mark Elvin appointed lecturer in Chinese History, Cambridge, England.
1965 - 66
First book of poems, Living in America, published in Ann Arbor. A short study, Elizabeth Bishop, published by Twayne publishers, New York. Two sons born in 1966 and 1967.
Reversals (poems) published by Wesleyan University Press, USA.
1970 - 71
Fellow of the Radcliffe (Bunting) Institute, Harvard, before moving to Glasgow, Scotland.
1973 - 75
Fellow in Writing at the University of Dundee. Correspondences and Travelling Behind Glass (poems) published by Wesleyan and Oxford University Press, England.
1975 - 77
Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. OUP published Enough of Green (poems). Co-founded Other Poetry (magazine) with Evangeline Patterson.
Arts Council Fellow at Bulmersh College, Reading.
1979 - 81
Co-founded The Poetry Bookshop, Hay-on-Wye. Hereford, with Michael Farley and Alan Halsey.
OUP published Minute by Glass Minute (poems). Became Northern Arts Fellow in at Newcastle and Durham Universities. Joined Arts Council of G.B. Literature Panel. Moved to Langley Park, a mining village in County Durham, in 1981.
1985 - 86
Published The Fiction Makers, PBS Choice. Arts Council sponsored trips to Switzerland and the U.S.S.R.
Married Peter Lucas in London. Appointed Fellow in Writing, University of Edinburgh.
Bitter Fame, a Life of Sylvia Plath published by Viking/Penguin, England, Houghton Mifflin, U.S.
The Other House published by OUP. Received the Athena Alumnae Award from the University of Michigan.
1991 - 95
Living and writing in North Wales and Grantchester, near Cambridge, England. Four and a Half Dancing Men published by OUP in 1993. Visiting Fellow in University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Cholmondeley Award from Society of Authors, UK, (1995).
Collected Poems, 1955-1995, published by Oxford U. Press.
Moved to 38 Albert St., Western Hill, Durham City. Published Between the Iceberg and the Ship (Essays, University of Michigan), Five Looks at Elizabeth Bishop (Agenda/Bellew, later Bloodaxe).
After the collapse of OUP.s poetry list, signed up with Bloodaxe Books, Newcastle UK.
Granny Scarecrow published by Bloodaxe Books, short-listed for the Whitbread and Eliot prizes, 2001.
2001 - 2
Hearing with my Fingers, pamphlet, published by Thumbscrew magazine in Oxford.
Received inaugural Northern Rock Writers Award.
A Report from the Border (poems) published. A 70th birthday festschrift, The Way You Say the World, published by Shoestring Press, Nottingham. Eds. John Lucas, Matt Simpson.
Poems 1955 - 2005 published by Bloodaxe Books.
Five Looks at Elizabeth Bishop (Criticism) republished by Bloodaxe Books.
Stone Milk (poems) published by Bloodaxe Books.
Awarded The Neglected Masters Award by the Poetry foundation of America, The Lannan Prize for a lifetime’s achievement in poetry and the Aiken-Taylor Prize as Poet of the Year from The Sewanee Review and The University of the South in Tennessee.
April: The Library of America publishes Anne Stevenson’s Selected Poems, with an introduction by the British Poet Laureate, Andrew Motion.
December: Received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Michigan.
Astonishment published by Bloodaxe Books October 2012.