PC Becker (2)

Robin Becker. Courtesy Allegheny Front.

Robin Becker (born 1951) is a feminist American poet, critic, and academic.[1]


Born in Philadelphia, Becker earned a B.A. in 1973 and an M.A. from Boston University in 1976.[1] She resides in Boalsburg, Pennsylvania and spends her summers on the North Fork of Long Island.

Becker taught for 17 years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[1] She is Professor of English and Women's Studies at Pennsylvania State University,[2] where she has taught since 1993.[3] She also teaches workshops such as those at the Summer Program Poetry Workshops at The Fine Arts Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Her 2 earliest books were published by Alice James Books, Personal Effects (a 3-poet anthology, including Robin Becker, Helena Minton and Marilyn Zuckerman) in 1977 – which makes her an early cooperative member of the press, which was founded in 1973,[4][5]

Her poems, essays, and book reviews have appeared in publications including Slate[6] The American Poetry Review, The Boston Globe, Gettysburg Review, AGNI, Ploughshares, Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, and The Best American Poetry 2008.[7] She has published book reviews in many venues, and writes a column on contemporary poetry called "Field Notes" for the Women's Review of Books, where she serves as Contributing and Poetry Editor.[8]

Writing Edit

“Becker grew up listening to her grandmother’s stories, learning from her the nuances of storytelling and her family’s history in Ukraine. Becker was also greatly influenced by the women writers whose poetry was available in the 1970s, including Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Maxine Kumin, Denise Levertov, and Susan Griffin. “[9]

Ed Ochester has said that "Robin is one of the most varied of the poets on the Pitt list in her style and subject matter – and the foremost feminist poet of her generation.”[10]

In her biography of Becker, Heidi Ogrodnek writes, “She is known for her work in Lesbian and Gay studies and served as visiting scholar at the Center for Lesbian and Gay studies at the City University of New York in 1998. She has said, 'Feminist scholarship and Gay and Lesbian poetry have provided me with the tools with which to work.' Her collections of poetry develop precise, delicate imagery and… depict her own transition from girlhood to womanhood… Maxine Kumin has also been a tremendous inspiration to Becker...[she] learned that 'woman poets could celebrate their lives and not position themselves as victims in every story.' "[11]


Her honors include fellowships from The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies of the City University of New York, The William Steeple Davis Foundation, the Mary Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College, and the Massachusetts Artists Foundation.




  • Personal Effects (by Robin Becker, Helena Minton, & Marilyn Zuckerman). Cambridge, MA: Alice James Poetry Co-operative, 1977.
  • Backtalk: Poems. Cambridge, MA: Alice James Books, 1982.
  • Giacometti’s Dog. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1990.
  • All-American Girl. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1996.
  • The Horse Fair: Poems. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000.
  • Venetian Blue: Poems (chapbook). Frick Art & Historical Center, 2002.
  • Domain of Perfect Affection. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2006.
  • Tiger Heron. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2014.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[14]

Audio / videoEdit

"The Problem of Magnification," a poem by Robin Becker, 2010-11 Penn State laureate

"The Problem of Magnification," a poem by Robin Becker, 2010-11 Penn State laureate

  • Robin Becker. Washington, DC: American University, 2001.
  • Visiting Writers' Series: Robin Becker. Portland, OR: Reed College, 2011.

Except where noted, discographical information courtesy WorldCat.[14]

See alsoEdit

References Edit

External linksEdit

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