Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Professor Elected to Academy of American Poets Board of Chancellors

A Georgetown professor will serve on the Board of Chancellors for the Academy of American Poets, an organization that supports poets and their contemporary audiences. 

Carolyn Forché, professor in the English department, will start this year as an artistic advisor during her six-year term before becoming a chancellor emeritus. The Academy of American Poets, founded in 1934, promotes poetry on a national level by publicizing National Poetry Month, producing the site and providing financial support for poets. 

Forché works in the field of literature and poetry through writing, teaching and advocacy. 

“I have always been devoted to poetry, and more recently to the writing of prose memoir and the work of translating poets from other languages into American English,” Forché wrote to The Hoya. “I will continue with all of that, and with my second and no less important vocation: teaching. I will join with my colleagues in the academy to support literary art, and the study of the arts and humanities, which also happen to be vital to the health of our democracy.”

Poetry Foundation | Professor Carolyn Forché will serve on the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets as an artistic advisor to the organization.

Forché currently teaches a seminar class for the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice,  which is involved in critical literary analysis of contemporary works, and where she previously served as director. 

Only 120 poets have been named chancellors since the creation of the academy, and Forché is a talented addition to the Board, according to Jen Benka, executive director of media for the academy. 

“From collections of her own poetry to her groundbreaking anthology “Against Forgetting: Twentieth Century Poetry of Witness,” to her leadership at the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice, Carolyn Forché is a poet who has helped us understand, among other things, that some of history is only found in poems,” Benka wrote to The Hoya. “We’re deeply grateful to have her join us as a Chancellor.”

Forché has an extensive career in poetry and advocacy which includes five volumes of poetry, two anthologies and one memoir. “Gathering the Tribes,” her debut poetry publication, won the 1975 Yale Series of Younger Poets Award, and her later publication  “The Country Between Us” is a collection of poems based on Forché’s experiences during the Salvadoran Civil War. 

Forché said that she will continue to tie advocacy to her work in the position of chancellor. 

“I’m deeply committed to work on behalf of human rights and social justice, and to the

strengthening of democracy and the institutions of civil society,” Forché wrote. “I will bring that to bear on my work for the Academy, where I hope to advocate for supporting poets throughout the world who suffer imprisonment, censorship and exile because of their literary work or reasons of conscience. I will also continue the Academy’s important efforts toward greater inclusivity in this country, and in the Academy itself.”

According to David Gewanter, a professor in the department of English, Forché’s ability to empathize with individuals facing injustice makes her work special. 

“Unique among poets, she carries this empathy into the classroom and the boardroom, working to make institutions morally responsible for their actions,” Gewanter wrote to The Hoya. “She has sent back frontline reports to Amnesty International, and worked with others to make Georgetown accountable for its sale of slaves. The Academy will benefit from having such an accomplished poet and moral agent join its leadership.”

Duncan Wu, another professor in the English department, said that Forché undeniably deserves the position of chancellor, an honor he describes as nearly commensurate with the Nobel Prize for Literature.

“She is unquestionably one of the top two or three poets in this country at the moment,” Wu said in an interview with The Hoya. “We are astonishingly lucky to have her at this university. I mean, someone of her stature would normally be at Yale or Harvard. She’s at Georgetown, because she loves this place.”

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