MacArthur Fellows Program

Jim Powell

Poet, Translator, and Literary Critic | Class of 1993

Poet, Translator, and Literary Critic
Berkeley, California
42 at time of award
Published July 1, 1993

About Jim's Work

Jim Powell is a poet, a translator, and a literary critic.

Powell’s poetry, informed by his knowledge of Greek and Latin as well as by twentieth-century poetry, combines a colorful vision of California life with a classical restraint and sense of decorum.  Without sacrificing content, he has successfully experimented with poetic structures and rhythms.  In his translations from the Greek, his sensitive grasp of the ancient poems results in English lines that are idiomatic without losing the formality of the original texts.  As a critic, Powell analyzes complex texts with insight and clarity.  He is the author of a volume of original poetry, It Was Fever That Made the World (1989), and two volumes of translation, Sappho, A Garland: The poems and Fragments of Sappho (1993) and Catullan Revenants (2001).


Powell was an instructor at the University of California, Berkeley (1981-87), and an assistant professor of English and poet-in-residence at Reed College (1988-90).  His poems have appeared in numerous publications, including Slate, the Threepenny Review, and Poetry.

Powell received a B.A. (1979) and an M.A. (1981) from the University of California, Berkeley.

Last updated January 1, 2005

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