Born: September 23, 1948
Ohio connection: Resident
Maggie Anderson is the author of several poetry collections, including Windfall: New and Selected Poems (2000). She is also the founder of the Wick Poetry First Book Series and the Wick Poetry Chapbook Series for Ohio Poets. Anderson co-foundedTrellis, a poetry journal, in 1971 with Winston Fuller and Irene McKinney, and served as editor until 1981. She is known not only as a writer and teacher but as a supporter of emerging poets. Critics have praised Anderson’s work for being “confident, lyrical and compassionate.”
Born in New York City on September 23, 1948, to a mother from Pennsylvania and a father from West Virginia, Anderson has described a childhood of “moving around a lot” but visiting West Virginia every summer. The influence of her rural Appalachian heritage is evident in her work. Following an English education at West Virginia University, Anderson worked as a rehabilitation counselor for blind and visually impaired clients at the West Virginia Rehabilitation Center from 1973 to 1977. Beginning in 1979, she worked as poet-in-residence for ten years, in schools, senior centers, correctional facilities, and libraries in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Anderson has served as visiting writer at several universities, including the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Oregon, the Pennsylvania State University, Hamilton College, and West Virginia University.
In 1989, Anderson began teaching creative writing at Kent State University and was appointed coordinator of the Wick Poetry Program in 1992. In 2004, when the Wick Poetry Program celebrated its 20th anniversary and received a $2 million endowment to create the Wick Poetry Center in the College of Arts and Sciences, Anderson was named director. Anderson was on the founding committee of the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and served as Kent State University’s Campus Coordinator for the NEOMFA from 2003–2006 and as Director of the Northeast Ohio MFA Consortium from 2006-2009. Upon her retirement from KSU in 2009, the Maggie Anderson Endowment Fund was established in her honor. The Fund aims to assist talented writing students at the university with writing-related travel expenses.
Anderson’s poems have been widely published in poetry journals, including The American Poetry Review, New Letters, Prairie Schooner, The Georgia Review, and Hamilton Stone Review. Her work has also appeared in numerous anthologies and textbooks. Her poems have been set to music four times by contemporary composers, including “The Dream Vegetables” inDreams and Nocturnes: Chamber Music of Stephen Gryc, “In Singing Weather” by Monica Houghton, “Nightmare” by Anne LeBaron, and “Related to the Sky” from “Sun Songs and Nocturnes” by John David Earnest.
Anderson’s awards include two fellowships in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts, fellowships from the Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania Councils on the Arts, and the Ohioana Library for contributions to the literary arts in Ohio. In 2004, Emory and Henry College read her at their 23rd annual Appalachian Literary Festival, and Kent State University honored her with a Distinguished Scholar Award. In 2003, she received the Helen and Laura Kraut Memorial Ohioana Poetry Award from the Ohioana Library Association. In 2002, the KSU Alumni Association awarded her one of just three University Distinguished Teaching Awards.