Walt Whitman Birthplace Association 2006 Poet in Residence

Molly Peacock


Molly Peacock is a poet, biographer, essayist, and short fiction writer whose multi-genre literary life has taken her from New York City to Toronto, from poetry to prose, from words to words-and-pictures, and from lyric self-examination to curiosity about the lives of others. She is the author of the best-selling biography The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life’s Work at 72 . Beginning her literary life as a poet, she has published six books of poetry, including The Second Blush and Cornucopia: New and Selected Poems .

A dynamic speaker, she has spread the word about late-life creativity, poetry, and the artist’s life from The Art Gallery of Ontario to the Barnes Museum in Philadelphia, from NPR to the CBC. She is a subject of a documentary film by Renee McCormick, A Life Outside Convention.

Molly is from a blue-collar and farming family with roots both in Canada and the United States. She was born in Buffalo, New York, received a B.A. magna cum laude from Harpur College (Binghamton University) and an M.A. with honors from The Writing Seminars at The Johns Hopkins University. A dual American-Canadian citizen, she now lives with her husband, James Joyce scholar Michael Groden, in Toronto, though she maintains contact with her former home by conducting a seminar at the Unterberg Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y in New York City every winter.

Among her honors are awards from The Leon Levy Center for Biography (City University of New York Graduate Center), the Canada Council for the Arts, the Danforth Foundation, Ingram Merrill Foundation, Woodrow Wilson Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and New York State Council on the Arts. Widely anthologized, her poems appear in The Oxford Book of American Poetry, The Best of the Best American Poetry, and A Formal Feeling Comes as well as in leading literary journals such as The New Yorker, Poetry, The Literary Review of Canada, The New Criterion, Canadian Notes and Queries, Contemporary Verse 2, The Southwest Review, and The Yale Review. Her essay “Passion Flowers in Winter,” which was selected by David Foster Wallace for inclusion in The Best American Essays 2007, grew into The Paper Garden, a #1 Bestseller in Canada, a New York Times reviewed biography in the United States, and an Economist Book of the Year in the UK and Ireland. It was published as well in Australia and New Zealand.

Information taken from the poet’s website.

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