Friday, August 5, 2011

A Little Love to Accompany The Cancer: A Profile of Cate Marvin

This is the second installment of our member profiles highlighting writers who've taken workshops with us during our 35 years. It was originally published in the current Workshop & Event Guide. The first installment was last week, and it featured Paula Whyman on Carolyn Parkhurst. Now here's poet Brian Brodeur on Cate Marvin:

By Brian Brodeur

Cate Marvin is the author of two books of poems: World’s Tallest Disaster, which was chosen by former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky as the winner of the 2000 Kathryn A. Morton Prize, and Fragment of the Head of a Queen, for which she received a Whiting Award. Marvin is also co-editor with poet Michael Dumanis of the anthology Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century. In 2002, she was awarded the Kate Tufts Discovery Prize. 

Born in Washington, D.C., Marvin grew up in Potomac, MD, where she attended Winston Churchill High School. She first became connected with The Writer’s Center through her high school creative writing teacher, Peggy Pfieffer. Between the years of 1989 and 1992, Marvin participated in workshops at The Writer’s Center with Ann Darr, Nigel Hinschelwood, and Peter Klappert. 

Marvin received her B.A. from Marlboro College in Vermont, and holds two M.F.A.s: one from the University of Houston in poetry, the other from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in fiction. She also earned a Ph.D. in English from the University of Cincinnati. Marvin has been awarded scholarships to attend both the Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers’ Conferences. Her poems have appeared in such magazines as New England Review, Antioch Review, The Paris Review, The Georgia Review, and Ploughshares, among others. 

About Marvin’s first book, Pinsky writes: “Cate Marvin’s cunningly-measured, deceptively regular stanzas partition the elegant dwelling where Eros like a wild ghost bangs anyhow against the walls or bursts across windowsill and threshold.” The poems in both of Marvin’s collections are alive with a dangerous sexuality, awakened to the notion that the erotic exists not just in sex but in every vital aspect of our lives. Formally taut, tonally brash, and always inventive, Marvin’s poems are fraught with risk as they meld the dramatic and metaphysical in work sung from deep within the belly. 

In August of 2009, Marvin co-founded VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, a grass-roots organization that addresses the need for female writers to engage in conversations regarding the critical reception of women’s creative writing in this country. Marvin currently teaches poetry at Columbia University’s M.F.A. Program and Lesley University’s Low-Residency M.F.A. Program, and is an associate professor in creative writing in the College of Staten Island, City University of New York. 

Brian Brodeur is the author of Other Latitudes, which was chosen by Stephen Dunn as the winner of the University of Akron Press’s 2007 Akron Poetry Prize. He maintains the blog “How a Poem Happens,” an online anthology of over 150 interviews with poets. His second poetry manuscript was chosen by Denise Duhamel as the winner of the 2011 Autumn House Press Poetry Contest. The book will be published in Spring 2012 (and hopefully he'll be reading from it at TWC in the spring).

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