Arthur Sze is a poet, translator, and editor. He has published ten books of poetry, including Sight Lines, Compass Rose, The Ginkgo Light, Quipu, The Redshifting Web: Poems 1970-1998, and Archipelago, all from Copper Canyon Press. He has also published The Silk Dragon: Translations from the Chinese and edited Chinese Writers on Writing. A bilingual Chinese/English selected poems, Pig’s Heaven Inn, was published in Beijing, and he has also collaborated with sculptor Susan York to create a book and installation, The Unfolding Center.
Known for his difficult, meticulous poems, Sze’s work has been described as the “intersection of Taoist contemplation, Zen rock gardens and postmodern experimentation” by the critic John Tritica. The poet Dana Levin described Sze as “a poet of what I would call Deep Noticing, a strong lineage in American poetry… Dispassionate presentation of ‘the thing itself’ is its prevailing attribute, yet Sze’s attention is capacious; it’s attracted to paradox; it takes facing opponents and seats them side by side.” In addition, K. Michel, a Dutch poet writing for Poetry International says, “Sze’s work is characterized by its unusual combination of images and ideas, and by the surprising way in which he makes connections between diverse aspects of the world. In his poetry he combines images from urban life and nature, ideas from modern astronomy and Chinese philosophy as well as anecdotes from rural and industrial America. In this way, he creates texts that capture and reflect the complexity of reality.”
Sze’s many awards include The Jackson Poetry Prize from Poets & Writers, a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award, a Lannan Literary Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing fellowships, a Howard Foundation Fellowship, and five grants from the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry. From 2012-2017, he served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and, in 2017, was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a professor emeritus at the Institute of American Indian Arts and lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.