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William Baer is an American writer, editor, translator, and professor. He received the 1997 T. S. Eliot Prize for his book The Unfortunates.[1] The author/editor of fifteen books, he holds the Melvin M. Peterson Chair in English and American Literature at the University of Evansville in southern Indiana where he currently teaches creative writing, cinema, and world cultures.



Baer was born in Geneva, New York, in 1948. He was raised in the Bronx and Wayne, New Jersey, and he's a graduate of Rutgers and New York University. He completed his doctoral dissertation in English at the University of South Carolina under the direction of James Dickey and then attended the Johns Hopkins' Writing Seminars where he studied with John Barth and David St. John. Later, he was a Fulbright Professor in American Literature at the University of Coimbra in Portugal, and he attended the University of Southern California's Graduate School of Cinema where he received the Jack Nicholson Screenwriting Award.

William Baer lives in Evansville, Indiana, with his wife Mona and their two children, Margaret and William.

Literary activities

Baer is the author of four books of poetry, including "The Unfortunates", recipient of the T.S. Eliot Poetry Prize, and "Bocage and Other Sonnets", recipient of the X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize. His other books include translations from the Portuguese, "Luís de Camões: Selected Sonnets"; the textbook, "Writing Metrical Poetry"; and four collections of interviews, including "Classic American Films: Conversations with the Screenwriters".

In 1989, William Baer was the Founding Editor of The Formalist (1990-2004), a small poetry journal which played a significant role in the Formalist poetry revival and published the work of seven Nobelists and fifteen Pulitzer recipients. He’s also the former poetry editor and film critic for Crisis Magazine.

Currently, he serves as the founding director of the St. Robert Southwell Institute, the director of the University of Evansville Press, the contributing editor at Measure, and the faculty director of The Evansville Review.


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