Poet Marilyn Nelson is the author or translator of twelve books and three chapbooks. Her book The Homeplace won the 1992 Annisfield-Wolf Award and was a finalist for the 1991 National Book Award. The Fields of Praise: New and Selected Poems won the 1998 Poets’ Prize and was a finalist for the 1997 National Book Award, the PEN Winship Award, and the Lenore Marshall Prize. Carver: A Life in Poems won the 2001 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award and the Flora Stieglitz Straus Award, was a finalist for the 2001 National Book Award, a Newbery Honor Book, and a Coretta Scott King Honor Book. Fortune’s Bones was a Coretta Scott King Honor Book and won the Lion and the Unicorn Award for Excellence in North American Poetry. A Wreath for Emmett Till won the 2005 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award and was a 2006 Coretta Scott King Honor Book, a 2006 Michael L. Printz Honor Book, and a 2006 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award Honor Book. The Cachoiera Tales and Other Poems won the L.E. Phillabaum Award and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award. She is also the author of Sweethearts of Rhythm, which was illustrated by Jerry Pinkney.
Her honors include two National Endowment for the Arts creative writing fellowships, the 1990 Connecticut Arts Award, an American Council of Learned Societies Contemplative Practices Fellowship, a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship, and a fellowship from the J. S. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Nelson is a professor emeritus of English at the University of Connecticut; founder and director of Soul Mountain Retreat, a small writers’ colony; and was Poet Laureate of the state of Connecticut from 2001—2006.