The recipient of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, Gregory Pardlo, visited SUNY Plattsburgh on October 15 to read from his award-winning collection, Digest, and earlier work.
Born in Philadelphia in 1968, Gregory Pardlo is a graduate of Rutgers University, Camden. As an undergraduate, he managed the small jazz club his grandfather owned in nearby Pennsauken, NJ. He received the MFA from NYU as a New York Times Fellow in Poetry in 2001. Pardlo is the author of Totem, winner of the 2007 American Poetry Review / Honickman Prize, and translator of Niels Lyngsoe’s, Pencil of Rays and Spiked Mace (Bookthug, 2004). His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Boston Review, The Nation, Ploughshares, Tin House, and two editions of Best American Poetry, as well as anthologies including Angles of Ascent, the Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry. Pardlo graced the pages of Saranac Review 2 with two poems that made it to his first collection, Totem. He is the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship and a fellowship for translation from the National Endowment for the Arts. He has received other fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Lotos Club Foundation and Cave Canem. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in English at the Graduate Center, CUNY, and teaches undergraduate writing at Columbia University. He serves as an Associate Editor of Callaloo, and is a facilitator of the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop.
Of the book, Pardlo writes, “My wife and I had just had our second child when I started writing Digest. The poems reflect my anxiety around being the father of young children. When I began studying for the Ph.D., I grew conscious of the way, mentally, I had to change gears in order to move between scholarly and creative work. I wanted to write poems that reflect how much I enjoy learning and sharing what I learn, and I didn’t want to have to ‘change tracks’ to write them. The poems in Digest grow out of that effort as well.”
Click here to read our full interview with Pardlo.