The Artist Birthday Series

Mark Strand

In 1981, Strand was elected a member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters. He served as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress during the 1990–91 term. In 1997, he left Johns Hopkins University to accept the Andrew MacLeish Distinguished Service Professorship of Social Thought at the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. From 2005 to his death, Strand taught literature and creative writing at Columbia University, in New York City.

strand reading

Many of Strand’s poems are nostalgic in tone, evoking the bays, fields, boats, and pines of his Prince Edward Island childhood. Strand has been compared to Robert Bly in his use of surrealism, though he attributes the surreal elements in his poems to an admiration of the works of Max Ernst, Giorgio de Chirico, and RenΓ© Magritte. Strand’s poems use plain and concrete language, usually without rhyme or meter. In a 1971 interview, Strand said, “I feel very much a part of a new international style that has a lot to do with plainness of diction, a certain reliance on surrealist techniques, and a strong narrative element.”

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