Baker, David (Anthony) 1954-
BAKER, David (Anthony) 1954-
PERSONAL: Born December 27, 1954, in Bangor, ME; son of Donald Dayle (a state highway department administrator) and Martha Mae (a secretary; maiden name, Fowler) Baker; married Charlotte Lee Miller, 1978 (divorced, 1984); married Ann Townsend, 1987; children: Katherine Girard Baker. Education: Central Missouri State University, B.S.E. (cum laude), 1976, M.A., 1977; University of Utah, Ph.D., 1983.
ADDRESSES: Home—3404 Deeds Rd., Granville, OH 43023. Office—Department of English, Denison University, Granville, OH 43023. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: High-school English teacher in Jefferson City, MO, 1977-79; University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, editor of Quarterly West, 1980-83; Kenyon College, Gambier, OH, visiting assistant professor of English, 1983-84; Denison University, Granville, OH, Professor of English and Thomas B. Fordham Chair of Creative Writing, 1984—. Visiting instructor at Cornell University, 1985; visiting associate professor of English, University of Michigan, 1996; instructor in MFA program for writers, Warren Wilson College, 2000, 2001. Poetry editor, Kenyon Review, 1995—. Gives readings at universities.
MEMBER: Modern Language Association of America, Academy of American Poets, Poetry Society of America, National Book Critics Circle, Poets and Writers, Associated Writing Programs.
AWARDS, HONORS: First Prize for Poetry from Utah Arts Council, 1981, for "Call across the Years"; Bridgman scholar at Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, 1982; James Wright Prize for Poetry, Mid-American Review, 1983, for "Ephemerae"; poetry fellow, National Endowment for the Arts, 1985; Ohio Poet of the Year, Ohio Poetry Association, 1991; Distinguished Alumnus award, Central Missouri State University, 1992; Poetry Book of the Year, Society of Midland Authors, 1992; Poetry Fellow, Ohio Arts Council, 1997, 2000; Ohioana Book Award, 1998, for The Truth about Small Towns; Lifetime Achievement Award, Ohioana Library Association, 1998, for contributions to the field of poetry; research fellowship, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, 2000-01; Iowa Review, Tim McGinnis Award, 2002.
Looking Ahead (poetry chapbook), Mid-America Press (Warrensburg, MO), 1975.
Rivers in the Sea (poetry chapbook), Mid-America Press (Warrensburg, MO), 1977.
Laws of the Land (poetry), Ahsahta (Boise, ID), 1981.
Summer Sleep (poetry chapbook), Owl Creek Press (Seattle, WA), 1984.
Haunts (poems), Cleveland State University Poetry Center (Cleveland, OH), 1985.
Sweet Home, Saturday Night (poetry), University of Arkansas Press (Fayetteville, AR), 1991.
After the Reunion (poetry), University of Arkansas Press (Fayetteville, AR), 1994.
(Compiler) Meter in English: A Critical Engagement, University of Arkansas Press (Fayetteville, AR), 1996.
The Truth about Small Towns (poetry), University of Arkansas Press (Fayetteville, AR), 1998.
Heresy and the Ideal: On Contemporary Poetry, University of Arkansas Press (Fayetteville, AR), 2000.
Changeable Thunder, University of Arkansas Press (Fayetteville, AR), 2001.
Work represented in anthologies, including Anthology of Magazine Verse and Yearbook of American Poetry, Monitor Book, 1981, 1984, 1985; Missouri Poets Anthology, Mid-America Press (Warrensburg, MO), 1983; Jumping Pond: Poems and Stories from the Ozarks, 1983; The Morrow Anthology of Younger American Poets, Morrow (New York, NY), 1985; Strong Measures: Contemporary American Poetry in Traditional Forms, Harper (New York, NY), 1986; The Pushcart Prize, 1994; The New Breadloaf Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry, 2001; and The Penguin Book of the Sonnet, 2001. Also contributor to The Eye of the Poet: Six Views of the Art and Craft of Poetry, edited by David Citino, Oxford Press (London, England), 2001; Like Thunder: Poets Respond to Violence in America, edited by Virgil Suarez and Ryan G. Van Cleave, University of Iowa Press (Iowa City, IA), 2002; and Contemporary Literary Criticism, Gale (Detroit, MI). Contributor of more than two hundred poems, articles, and reviews to periodicals, including American Scholar, Kenyon Review, New England Review, North American Review, Poetry Review, Sewanee Review, Southern Review, Atlantic Monthly, Georgia Review, Nation, New Yorker, Paris Review, Raritan, Yale Review, Western American Literature, and Montana Review. Kenyon Review, assistant editor, 1983-95, poetry editor, 1995—.
SIDELIGHTS: David Baker told CA: "I have surprised myself, I suppose, by seeing how important poetry has become to my life. I first began writing in college, experimenting as students do with their current subject. I continue now out of something close to necessity. I want to continue to believe that a growing sensitivity toward language nurtures a growing sensitivity toward the user of language—the human being."
The author of several poetry collections, Baker also published the nonfiction work Meter in English: A Critical Engagement in 1997. This book begins with a Robert Wallace essay, "Meter in English," which, according to Timothy Morris in a Style article, "argues that accentual-syllabic meter is a single system that is the only possible meter in modern English." Baker forwarded the essay to fourteen scholars—poets and critics alike—asking for their reactions. Their rejoinders "range from nodding agreement to vigorous challenge," said Library Journal contributor David Kirby. A Publishers Weekly writer had praise for the discussions by such figures as Eavan Boland, Annie Finch, and Robert Hass: "One can't help but be impressed by the level of engagement the poets have with such technical issues, and the passion with which they argue their points." Morris concluded that Meter in English "shows us some of the best poets at work in America today thinking about their craft, and shows readers of poetry how deeply poets care about the right word, the right rhythm."
As for his original creative work, Baker is "an unabashedly earnest poet," said Ben Downing in his Poetry review of After the Reunion. "He writes fullthroated lyrics strongly prompted by his own life, not other people's literature."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Studies International, June, 1997, Nancy Kuhl, review of Meter in English, p. 107.
Antioch Review, fall, 1992, review of Sweet Home,Saturday Night, p. 779.
Choice, July-August, 1997, B. Almon, review of Meter in English, p. 1797.
Georgia Review, fall, 1992, review of Sweet Home,Saturday Night, p. 554.
Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 1998, review of The Truth about Small Towns, p. 928.
Library Journal, January, 1997, David Kirby, review of Meter in English, p. 99.
Poetry, July, 1992, review of Sweet Home, SaturdayNight, p. 226; January, 1996, Ben Downing, review of After the Reunion, p. 223, January 2003, Sally Connolly, review of Changeable Thunder.
Prairie Schooner, summer, 1994, David Citino, review of Sweet Home, Saturday Night, p. 151.
Publishers Weekly, November 25, 1996, review of Meter in English, p. 68; June 29, 1998, review of The Truth about Small Towns, p. 55.
Sewanee Review, winter, 1998, William Harmon, review of Meter in English, p. 116.
Southern Humanities Review, spring, 1993, review of Sweet Home, Saturday Night, p. 192.
Southern Review, fall, 1995, review of After the Reunion, p. 957.
Style, fall, 1997, Timothy Morris, review of Meter inEnglish, p. 552.
Valparaiso Poetry Review, 2002, Edward Byrne, ToArticulate and to Remember the Past: The Poetry of David Baker.
Village Voice, February 25, 1992, review of SweetHome, Saturday Night, p. 67.
Virginia Quarterly Review, winter, 1992, review of Sweet Home, Saturday Night, p. 30.