Born: Brooklyn, New York, USA
Irving Feldman is a major American poet and taught in the English Department at the State University of New York at Buffalo for 40 years The son of Russian Jews who were recent immigrants to the U.S., he was born on September 22, 1928, in the Coney Island neighborhood of Brooklyn, N. Y. A child of the Great Depression, he was particularly affected by news about the Holocaust as it reached the U.S.--a tragedy that would greatly influence his future writing.
Feldman received a BA in social sciences from City College of New York (now City College of the City University of New York) in 1950 and an MA from Columbia University in 1953. Upon graduating he traveled to and taught in Puerto Rico and France before returning to the States and teaching at Kenyon College from 1958 to 1964. That year he began teaching at SUNY Buffalo, where he was eventually named Distinguished Professor of English and where he remained until his retirement in 2004.
Feldman's first volume of poetry was the semi-autobiographical Works and Days, which appeared in 1961 and earned him immediate acclaim. It was followed by The Pripet Marshes (1965) and Leaping Clear (1976), both finalists for the National Book Award; All of Us Here (1986), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; The Life and Letters (1994), a finalist for the Poets' Prize; and Beautiful False Things: Poems (2000); among others. His Collected Poems, 1954-2004 was a career summary.
Feldman is the recipient of a National Institute of Arts and Letters award (1973) as well as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation (1973), the Academy of American Poets (1986), and the MacArthur Foundation (1992).
80th anniversary tribute (testimonials, audio interviews, and readings)
Poetry Foundation Feldman page (biography and sample poems)
eNotes Feldman page (biography and critical analysis)