Pulitzer Prize Winner Lloyd Schwartz Continues to Inspire

James G. Mortenson | January 03, 2011
Pulitzer Prize Winner Lloyd Schwartz Continues to Inspire

In 1994, Lloyd Schwartz was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for criticism.

His three books of poems, These People; Goodnight, Gracie; and Cairo Traffic, have been published by Wesleyan University Press and the University of Chicago Press. Both are distinguished presses with outstanding poetry series.

Schwartz’s poems, essays, and translations have appeared in The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, Paris Review, and Best American Poetry. Editor of Elizabeth Bishop and Her Art, he is an internationally recognized authority on Bishop’s poetry. An edition of her work he prepared for the Library of America was published in March 2008. He is classical music editor of the Boston Phoenix and a weekly contributor to National Public Radio.

“I’ve been very lucky in my life,” Schwartz says. “My career has consisted of having the chance to do many of the things I love doing the most, and I’ve been richly rewarded for some of those things. I went to a public college [Queens College in New York City] and I was determined to repay what I was given by teaching in public higher education. That’s one of the reasons I’m happy to be working at UMass Boston.”

In 1978, after working for several years as a freelance music critic for The Boston Herald, Schwartz began working for the Phoenix, where he soon became the classical music editor. He also wrote about music for the Atlantic Monthly and was soon invited to be the classical music critic for National Public Radio’s Fresh Air when it went national in 1987. For his articles on music, he was awarded three ASCAP DeemsTaylor Awards and, in 1994, the aforementioned Pulitzer Prize for criticism.

In 1970, Schwartz met Elizabeth Bishop, a poet he had long admired, and in 1976 he completed his PhD thesis at Harvard on her poetry—a dissertation that was published by Garland. Shortly after, a colleague who was trying to put together a collection of essays on Bishop turned over the project to Schwartz, and in 1983 Elizabeth Bishop and Her Art was published by the University of Michigan Press. The anthology was the first on Bishop, and it also included work by her that was reprinted for the first time.

In 2008, Schwartz’s edition of Bishop’s collected works was released by the major publisher of authoritative texts of American literature, the Library of America. The Times Literary Supplement of London chose the work as one of the outstanding books of the year. He has just published Elizabeth Bishop: Prose (2011, Farrar, Straus and Giroux) to honor her centennial year. This new volume has several important items of Bishop’s that had never been published.

In 1994, Schwartz’s teaching was honored with a named professorship, the Frederick S. Troy Professor of English.

“Even more rewarding,” Schwartz beams with pride, “many of my students have gone on to outstanding graduate programs, to win significant grants and scholarships, to publish books, and to become teachers and program directors.”

Tags: english , lloyd schwartz , poet , poetry , pulitzer prize

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