Ellen Doré Watson was hailed by Library Journal as one of "24 Poets for the 21st Century." Director of the Poetry Center at Smith College since 1999, Watson is author of three collections of poems, including Ladder Music, winner of the New York/New England award from Alice James Books. Other honors include a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artists Grant and a Rona Jaffe Writers Award.

Watson balances edgy tempos and sassy rhythms in poems as likely to address a rat on the path as to celebrate a peach or meditate on a truckload of guns. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky wrote of her first book, We Live in Bodies: "Ellen Watson is an eloquent, passionate poet; generosity of imagination distinguishes both her gift for language and her emotional sympathy: interrogative, tender, wildly inventive, with the wonder of childhood and a grown woman's comic sense. Watson's poetry is the real thing." Ruth Stone praised Ladder Music for its "tough, ingenious lyricism…" and Stephen Dobyns wrote that "her poems bang about on the page and are a great pleasure to read."

Watson has also translated a dozen books, including The Alphabet in the Park, the selected poems of Brazilian Adélia Prado (Wesleyan University Press), for which she was awarded a National Endowment Translation Fellowship. While she usually works from Brazilian Portuguese, the Winter 1999 issue of Modern Poetry in Translation features 35 pages of contemporary Palestinian poetry co-translated from the Arabic with Saadi Simawe.

In addition to directing the Poetry Center, Watson teaches private writing workshops and serves as an editor of The Massachusetts Review. She lives with her daughter in Conway, and can be reached at EWATSON[at]email.smith.edu
(replace [AT] with @).


Back to