The Poetry Society of America has bestowed its highest honor, the Frost Medal, on Minneapolis poet Robert Bly, it was announced today. The Frost Medal, which recognizes a lifetime devoted to poetry, has gone previously to Wallace Stevens, Lucille Clifton, Marianne Moore, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others.
Bly has written, published and translated poetry throughout his life. His first book, "Silence in the Snowy Fields," was published in 1962, and his most recent book, "Talking into the Ear of a Donkey," was published in 2011.
As a young man, Bly traveled to Norway on a Fulbright grant, where he began translating Norwegian poetry into English. Over the years he has published many books of foreign-language poetry in translation, including the works of Pablo Neruda, Rumi, and Tomas Transtromer.
He is well-known for his fierce opposition to the Vietnam War (for which he was once jailed), his literary magazine, "The Fifties," (later called "The Sixties" and "The Seventies"), and "Iron John," his book that launched the men's movement and which spent 62 weeks on the New York Times' best-seller list. He won the National Book Award in 1968 for "The Light Around the Body."
Later this spring, Graywolf Press will publish "Airmail: The Letters of Robert Bly and Tomas Transtromer."
Bly, 86, grew up in Madison, in western Minnesota, and now lives in Minneapolis.
Here is a link to the Star Tribune profile of Bly, published in 2009.