Ryan Wilson (born 1982, Griffin, Georgia) is an American poet, translator, critic, and editor.
Ryan Wilson was born in Griffin, Georgia, and raised in nearby Macon, Georgia. He graduated from Tattnall Square Academy in 2000. He earned his Bachelor of Arts at The University of Georgia in 2004, his Master of Fine Arts from The Writing Seminars at The Johns Hopkins University in 2007, and a second Master’s degree from Boston University in 2008.
Currently the editor of Literary Matters, the online literary journal of the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers, he is a doctoral candidate at The Catholic University of America. He also serves as Office Manager of the ALSCW. He and his wife live in Baltimore, Maryland.
Wilson’s first book of poems, The Stranger World, won the 2017 Donald Justice Poetry Prize . According to Mark Jarman, “The Stranger World includes heartbreaking lyrics, haunting narratives, inspired translations, and finely honed satires” that are “written with the authority of mastery,” and former United States Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky notes “Ryan Wilson’s mastery of traditional forms serves a fresh, distinctive poetry of candor and meditation: soulful rather than brittle, more observant than performative. The idiomatic, American blank verse of Wilson’s “Authority” and “L’Estraneo” is as fluent as that of Robert Frost, but with an oblique tenderness that reminds me of Frost’s friend Edward Thomas.”
Wilson has written in a number of traditional forms, including blank verse, heroic couplets, heroic quatrains, Hudibrastics, ottava rima, the sonnet, terza rima, and the villanelle. He has also written in extremely rare forms, such as the sonetto caudato and the bref double, as well as in nonce forms and in free verse.
As Rosanna Warren notes, “Ryan Wilson is a poet of nightmares. . . . As he learned from his masters Horace, Villon and Baudelaire, a classical flourish can bring us face to face with horror, or with ourselves.”
In addition to original poems, Wilson has published more than twenty translations, most of them from Horace and Baudelaire. He has also published translations of Dante Alighieri, Catullus, Lope de Vega, Giovanni Pascoli, Rainer Maria Rilke, and Paul Verlaine.
Wilson also writes book reviews and essays. Between the Winter of 2015 and Winter 2016, he published four substantial articles, three dealing with poets of the American South such as John Crowe Ransom, Robert Penn Warren, and Donald Justice.
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