Robert Hass’s poetry is celebrated for his intellect and feeling and has mapped new territories of the personal poem.
Hass was born in 1941 in San Francisco and has published many books of poetry, including Field Guide (1973), Praise (1979), Human Wishes (1989), and Sun Under Wood (1996), as well as a book of essays on poetry, Twentieth Century Pleasures (1984). Hass translated many of the works of Nobel Prize-winning Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz and edited several collections of poetry, including Best American Poetry (2001). His collection of poems entitled Time and Materials (2007) won both the 2007 National Book Award and the 2008 Pulitzer Prize.
“Robert Hass’s poems have always included their author’s ‘real’ voice,” wrote Dan Chiasson in The New Yorker, “facts that one could check, tones recognizable from Hass’s excellent, often highly personal essays. Warm and credulous, even tender, Hass’s is a poetry of first names (Rachels, Earlenes, Bills, and Cheryls), men and women whose intentions have mellowed toward one another, society that has splintered off into small dinner parties and hikes. And it’s all against the big backdrop of the West Coast—marshes and quinces and loquats.”
This West Coast has served not only as backdrop but as foreground for Hass. He has been a resident of California for most of his life, a landscape that not only permeated his poetry, but has also infused his actions as a public figure. A two-term U.S. Poet Laureate, The Los Angeles Times praised his efforts in that position, stating, “Hass has significantly broadened the role of poet laureate to include not only his love for poetry but also his concern for literacy and his passion for environmentalism.” His deep commitment to these issues led him to found River of Words, an organization that promotes environmental and arts education in affiliation with the Library of Congress Center for the Book. He is also a board member of International Rivers Network and hosted the Watershed conference at the University of California, Berkeley.
Hass has been the recipient of many awards, including a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, the National Book Critics’ Circle Award (in 1984 and 1997), and he won the Yale Series of Younger Poets in 1973. He was chosen as Educator of the Year in 1997 by the North American Association on Environmental Education and elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2005. He lives in California with his wife, poet Brenda Hillman, and teaches at the University of California, Berkeley.
Now and Then: The Poet’s Choice Columns, 1997-2000 (2007)
Time and Materials: Poems 1997-2005 (2007)Sun Under Wood: New Poems (1996)
The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson & Issa (translator, 1994)
The Apple Trees at Olema: New and Selected Poems (1989)
Human Wishes (1989)
Field Guide (1973)
20th Century Pleasures (1984)
Robert Hass interview in the Houston Chronicle
What comes after a Pulitzer? More work and maybe a new stove.
Poet’s landscape of the personal and the public
The New Yorker reviews Robert Hass
Robert Hass’s ‘Time and Materials’ poems are impeccable