Michael J. Rosen

Born: 1954

Ohio connection: Birth


Michael Rosen was born in Columbus, Ohio, the eldest son of Marvin and Nona Rosen. His childhood home was in a new development situated amid a former pasture. It was there he explored construction sites and fields, collected cocoons, milkweed pods and chrysalises, gathered buckeyes, fed roadside horses, and fished. Rosen attended Kent State University (1972-73), studied pre-med at Ohio State University (OSU), graduating with a B.S. in 1976. He continued with graduate studies at OSU (1976-77) and briefly attended St. George’s School of Medicine (Grenada, 1978) before earning his MFA in poetry from Columbia University in 1981.  A prolific writer for both children and adults, Rosen’s professional work also includes instructing and lecturing at OSU, design consultant to Jefferson Center for Learning and the Arts, freelance illustrator and designer, youth services director, program coordinator, and administrator of children’s services for Leo Yassenoff Jewish Center.

Michael Rosen has taught in the Ohio Art Council Poetry-in-the-Schools Program and Greater Columbus Arts Council Artist-in-the- Schools Program, and has conducted over 500 young authors’ conferences, in-service days, writing workshops, guest author days, and residencies (for elementary, middle school, and high school students and teachers).  For nearly twenty years he served as literary director at the Thurber House, a cultural center in the restored home of James Thurber. Garrison Keillor called it “the capital of American humor.”  Rosen helped to create The Thurber Prize for American Humor, a national book award for humor writing, and edited four anthologies of Thurber’s previously unpublished and uncollected work.  He was also the editor of Mirth of a Nation and More Mirth of a Nation.  He and his family reside in Glenford, Ohio.

Fellow of Ohio Arts Council (1981, 1985, 1987); Ingram Merrill fellow (1982-83; 1989); National Endowment for the Arts, fellow and Gustav Davidson Award from Poetry Society of America, for “The Map of Emotions” (1984); Ohioana Library Award in poetry and Ohio Poetry Day Award, both for A Drink at the Mirage (1985); Jefferson Center for Learning and the Arts grants (1988, 1989); National Jewish Book Award, for Elijah’s Angel: A Story for Chanukah and Christmas (1993); Living the Dream Award, for Elijah’s Angel: A Story for Chanukah and Christmas (1994); Dog Writers of America Maxwell Medallion, for Kids’ Best Dog Book (1994);  Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance Once Upon a World Book Award, for A School for Pompey Walker (1996); Alice Wood Memorial Career Award for Children’s Literature, Ohioana Library (1997); Ohioana Library Award, Juvenile Literature, for The Heart Is Big Enough (1998); Ohio Arts Council Artist Exchange Sabbatical to Israel (1998); Elizabeth Matchett Stover Memorial Award, Southwest Review, for Best Poem of 1999.