In his tenure as United States Poet Laureate (1995-1997), Hass spent two years battling American illiteracy, armed with the mantra, “imagination makes communities. ”His deep commitment to environmental issues led him to found River of Words (ROW), an organization that promotes environmental and arts education in affiliation with the Library of Congress Center for the Book. A poet of great eloquence, clarity, and force, whose work is rooted in the landscapes of his native Northern California and brings the kind of energy in his poetry to his work as an essayist, translator, and activist on behalf of poetry, literacy, and the environment.
His many books of poetry include Field Guide, Praise, Human Wishes, and Sun Under Wood, a book of essays on poetry, Twentieth Century Pleasures. Hass translated Nobel Prize-winning Polish poet, Czeslaw Milosz, and edited Selected Poems: 1954-1986 by Tomas Transtromer, The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa; Poet’s Choice: Poems for Everyday Life; and Modernist Women Poets: An Anthology (with Paul Ebenkamp). His collection of poems Time and Materials won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.
Awarded the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, twice the National Book Critics’ Circle Award (in 1984 and 1997), and the Yale Series of Younger Poets in 1973, Robert Hass is professor of English at U.C. Berkeley.