Creative Writing Past Faculty
Alicia Ostriker, a poet and critic, has published sixteen volumes of poetry, including Waiting for the Light (2017), which received the National Jewish Book Award; The Book of Seventy, which received that award in 2009; The Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog (2014); The Book of Life: Selected Jewish Poems 1979-2011; and No Heaven (2005). Her 1980 feminist classic and anti-war poem sequence, The Mother/Child Papers, was recently reprinted by the University of Pittsburgh Press. The Volcano Sequence, a volume of spiritual quest and questioning, wrestles with Jewish traditions. Twice a National Book Award Finalist, for The Little Space (1998) and The Crack in Everything (1996), and winner of the William Carlos Williams Award for The Imaginary Lover, Ostriker is known for her intelligence and passionate appraisal of women’s place in literature and for investigating themes of family and sexuality, social justice, Jewish identity, and spirituality.
Ostriker’s critical work includes the now-classic Stealing the Language: the Emergence of Women’s Poetry in America, and other books on poetry and on the Bible, including the controversial The Nakedness of the Fathers: Biblical Visions and Revisions.
Her poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, The Atlantic, Paris Review, Yale Review, Ontario Review, The Nation, The New Republic, Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Anthology, and many other journals and anthologies, and has been translated into numerous languages including Hebrew and Arabic. Ostriker has performed her work widely in the USA, and has performed, lectured, and led workshops in England, France, Italy, Israel, Japan., and China. She says, “If I did not have teaching to do, I would not recognize myself.”
In 2015, Ostriker was appointed a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. In 2018 she was named the 11th New York State Poet by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.