Rachel Carley is an architectural historian, independent historic preservation consultant and publishing professional. She is the author of seven books, including Cuba: Four Hundred Years of Architectural Heritage, The Visual Dictionary of American Domestic Architecture; and Litchfield: The Making of a New England Town, winner of the 2012 Historic New England Book Prize.
Deborah Garrison is the author of A Working Girl Can’t Win: and Other Poems. For fifteen years, she worked on the editorial staff of The New Yorker and is now the poetry editor at Alfred A. Knopf and a senior editor at Pantheon Books. She earned a BA at Brown University and an MA in literature at New York University. She lives with her husband and three children in Montclair, New Jersey.
Margaret Gibson is the reigning poet laureate for the State of Connecticut. She is the author of several collections of poetry, including Not Hearing the Wood Thrush; Broken Cup, a finalist for the 2016 Poets' Prize; The Vigil: A Poem in Four Voices, a finalist for the National Book Award; and Long Walks in the Afternoon, a Lamont Poetry Selection. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a Pushcart Prize. She is Professor Emerita at the University of Connecticut.
Daniel Hall is Writer-in-Residence at Amherst College, and author of three books of poetry, Hermit with Landscape, Strange Relation, and Under Sleep. The former was selected for the Yale Series of Younger Poets; the latter was a National Poetry Series. He has received awards and fellowships from the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Whiting Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation.
LANGDON HAMMER, PH.D
Langdon Hammer is author of James Merrill: Life and Art, a critically acclaimed biography, published by Knopf in April 2015, and co-editor with Stephen Yenser of the forthcoming The Selected Letters of James Merrill. He received his BA and Ph.D. from Yale and joined the English Department faculty in 1987. His works include Hart Crane and Allen Tate: Janus-Faced Modernism, and he has edited the following publications for the Library of America: The Collected Poems of May Swenson (2013) and Hart Crane: Complete Poetry and Selected Letters (2006). As a former Guggenheim fellow, he has written about poetry for the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times Book Review, and the American Scholar, where he is the poetry editor.
DAVID LEEMING, PH.D.
David Leeming is author of the acclaimed biography James Baldwin: A Biography. Leeming served as both an on-camera witness and a scholar/advisor for Karen Thorsen’s award-winning film for PBS/American Masters, James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket. He received his BA in English from Princeton University and his Ph.D. in comparative literature from New York University. He is emeritus professor of English and comparative literature at the University of Connecticut. His books include Creation Myths of the World, Medusa: In the Mirror of Time, and a revised edition of The World of Myth (Oxford, 2014).
Chip Kidd is a world-renowned graphic designer, known for his book covers. His most notable book cover design was for Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park novel. USA Today has called him "the closest thing to a rock star" in graphic design, while author James Ellroy called him “the world's greatest book-jacket designer. He was the husband of the late J.D. (Sandy) McClatchy, James Merrill’s literary co-executor and founding James Merrill House advisor.
ROBIN MAGOWAN, PH.D.
Robin Magowan is a philanthropist and nephew of James Merrill. He received a B.A. from Harvard, M.A. from Columbia, and a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Yale. During the 1960s he taught at the University of Washington and the University of California at Berkeley. He is author of ten books of poetry and two collections of travel writing, And Other Voyages and Fabled Cities of Central Asia: Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva. He currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Paul Merrill is a philanthropist and nephew of James Merrill. He is an Alternative Dispute Resolution Professional, and co-trainer at NVC (Non-Violent Communication) Boston. His NVC studies began in 2002 and he is a 2005 graduate of Bay NVC’s Leadership Program. Prior to moving back to Boston, he was a founding board member and co-trainer at Brooklyn NVC. In 2012, he co-facilitated Mediate Your Life’s East Coast immersion program at Essex MA.
Lorrie Moore is the Gertrude Conaway Professor of English at Vanderbilt University. She is author of three novels and four collections of stories as well as the editor of several anthologies. Moore has received honors for her work, among them the Irish Times International Prize for Literature, a Lannan Foundation fellowship, as well as the PEN/Malamud Award and the Rea Award for her achievement in the short story. Her most recent novel, A Gate at the Stairs, was shortlisted for the 2010 Orange Prize and for the PEN/Faulkner. Her most recent collection, BARK, was shortlisted for The Story Prize, The Frank O'Connor Prize, and The Gregor Von Rezzori Prize. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001 and to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2005.
Carl Phillips is an American poet and judge for the Yale Younger Poet Award. Phillips is Professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis, where Merrill’s papers reside. He was named the recipient of the Fellowship of the Academy of American Poets, given in memory of James Merrill. A finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, his other honors include the Lambda Literary Award, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Theodore Roethke Memorial Foundation Poetry Award, the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Male Poetry, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Library of Congress, and the Academy of American Poets, for which he served as Chancellor from 2006-2012.
Ivy Pochoda is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Wonder Valley, Visitation Street, and These Women. Wonder Valley won the 2018 Strand Critics Award for Best Novel and was a finalist Los Angeles Times Book Prize and Le Grand Prix de Litterature Americaine, as well as being chosen as an NPR and Los Angeles Times Book of the Year. Visitation Street won the Prix Page America in France and was chosen as an Amazon Best Book of the Month, Amazon Best Book of 2013. Her books have been translated into five languages. She teaches creative writing at the Studio 526 Skid Row.
Kate Rushin holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Brown University and has taught at MIT and Wesleyan. She is the author of The Black Back-Ups and has received fellowships from The Cave Canem Foundation and The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Her work can be found in Callaloo and Norton’s New Worlds of Literature. She has received commissions from The International Festival of Arts and Ideas and The Hartford Public Library and serves on the Poetry Advisory Committee of the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival at the Hill-Stead Museum.
Poet Bruce Snider grew up in rural Indiana and attended Indiana University as an undergraduate. He earned an MFA in poetry and playwriting from the University of Texas at Austin, where he was a James A. Michener Fellow. Snider’s collections, which draw on his midwestern upbringing, include The Year We Studied Women, winner of the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry, and Paradise, Indiana, recipient of the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Poetry Prize. He held a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in creative writing at Stanford University and was a Jenny McKean Moore Writer-in-Residence at George Washington University.
Stephen Yenser is James Merrill’s literary co-executor, and a distinguished editor, critic, professor, and poet. He is the author of the poetry collections Stone Fruit, Blue Guide, and The Fire in All Things. A winner of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, he has also received an Ingram Merrill Foundation Award in Poetry and the Bernard F. Connors Prize for Poetry from the Paris Review. Yenser and the poet J.D. McClatchy co-edited James Merrill’s Collected Poems, Collected Novels and Plays of James Merrill, and The Changing Light at Sandover. Yenser is the author of several books of criticism, including Circle to Circle: The Poetry of Robert Lowell and The Consuming Myth: The Work of James Merrill, as well as the essay collection A Boundless Field: American Poetry at Large. He is co-editor with Langdon Hammer of the forthcoming The Selected Letters of James Merrill. He is an emeritus professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.