Born: December 27, 1954
Ohio connection: Resident
David Baker, the 1991 Ohio Poet of the Year, a Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, and a professor, was born in Bangor, Maine and grew up in Central Missouri, where he earned a B.S.E. in 1976 and an M.A. in 1977. After earning a Ph.D. from the University of Utah in 1983, Baker made his way to Ohio to teach English as an assistant professor at Kenyon College. Since 1984, Baker has been Professor of English at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, teaching creative and poetry writing, American and modern literature and poetic theory. He is also the Director of Creative Writing and holds the Thomas B. Fordham Chair of Creative Writing at the university. In addition, since 1995, he has been the Poetry Editor at the Kenyon Review, a literary magazine from Kenyon College that publishes emerging and established poets, essayists, and fiction writers. Baker has written several collections of poetry himself, including: Haunts (1985), Sweet Home, Saturday Night (1991), The Truth about Small Towns (1998), Changeable Thunder (2001), Midwest Eclogue (2007), Never-Ending Birds (2009), and Scavenger Loop (2015).. He has also written two critical works: Meter in English: A Critical Engagement (1996) and Heresy and the Ideal: On Contemporary Poetry (2000). His essays and poems have been published in such esteemed periodicals as The Atlantic Monthly, The Nation, The New Yorker and The Yale Review, while periodicals such as Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, Poetry, Publishers Weekly and The Village Voice have reviewed his work. Baker currently resides in the “small, quiet, New England-style town” of Granville, Ohio.
First Prize for Poetry from Utah Arts Council, 1981, for “Call across the Years”; Bridgman scholar at Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, 1982; James Wright Prize for Poetry, Mid-American Review, 1983, for “Ephemerae”; poetry fellow, National Endowment for the Arts, 1985; Ohio Poet of the Year, Ohio Poetry Association, 1991; Distinguished Alumnus award, Central Missouri State University, 1992; Poetry Book of the Year, Society of Midland Authors, 1992; Poetry Fellow, Ohio Arts Council, 1997, 2000; Ohioana Book Award, 1998, for The Truth about Small Towns; Lifetime Achievement Award, Ohioana Library Association, 1998, for contributions to the field of poetry; research fellowship, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, 2000-01; Iowa Review, Tim McGinnis Award, 2002