Kent Johnson

Picture of Author Kent Johnson
Photo by Forrest Gander.

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About the author

Kent Johnson is editor of Beneath a Single Moon: Buddhism in Contemporary American Poetry (Shambhala, 1991) and of Third Wave: the New Russian Poetry (University of Michigan Press, 1992). In 1980 and 1983, during the Sandinista revolution, he worked in the Nicaraguan countryside for many months, teaching basic literacy and adult education. From this experience he translated A Nation of Poets (West End Press, 1985), the most representative translation in English from the famous working class Talleres de Poesia of Nicaragua, carrying an interview he conducted with then-Minister of Culture Ernesto Cardenal. He has edited Doubled Flowering: From the Notebooks of Araki Yasusada (Roof Books, 1998), as well as Also, with My Throat, I Shall Swallow Ten Thousand Swords: Araki Yasusada's Letters in English (Combo Books, 2005). With Forrest Gander, he has translated Immanent Visitor: Selected Poems of Jaime Saenz (California UP, 2002), which was a PEN Award for Poetry in Translation selection. A second book of Saenz's work, The Night, was published by Princeton UP in 2008, and also received a Translation Award from PEN. He is author of The Miseries of Poetry: Traductions from the Greek (Skanky Possum, 2003; rept. CCCP, UK, 2005), Dear Lacan (CCCP, 2005), Epigramititis: 118 Living American Poets (BlazeVox Books, 2006), and I Once Met (Longhouse Books, 2007). Translations of his poetry have appeared in over a dozen countries, and three book collections of his work have been translated and published abroad, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chile, and Argentina. Homage to the Last Avant-Garde, a collection of new and selected poems, appeared from Shearsman Books in 2008.

Johnson is recipient of a Pushcart Book of the Month Award, an Illinois Arts Council Poetry Award, and an NEA Literature Fellowship. He teaches at Highland Community College and was named the "State of Illinois Teacher of the Year" for 2004 by the Illinois Community College Trustees Association.

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