Weekly Report 8
April 28, 2016
An Arab Poet, Lawrence Joseph
Lawrence Joseph is one of the most famous Arab American poets in America. He is a grandson of Lebanese and Syrian Catholic immigrants. He was born in Detroit and received his BA and JD from the University of Michigan, and a second BA and MA from Cambridge University. His early poetry often references the discrimination and violence he witnessed as a child, including the 1967 Detroit riots and the violent attempted robbery in 1970 of his father, a grocer. Joseph’s work, informed by his practice as a lawyer, engages themes of power and truth with an unsentimental clarity.
Joseph is the author of several collections of poetry, including (2005). His debut, (1983), won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize. critic Nicholas Gilewicz praised (2005), which addresses the events of September 11, as “a very intimate book, one that counterintuitively and productively sidesteps confessionalism.”
As a student at the University of Michigan, Joseph won the Hopwood Award for Poetry. He has also won fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He is the third recipient of the New York County Lawyers Association’s “Law and Literature Award,” joining prior winners Louis Auchincloss and Louis Begley. His poetry has been widely anthologized, including in (2006). He is also the author of the prose work (1997).
Joseph is not only a great poet but also a professor of law at St. John’s University School of Law in New York City. He also taught in the Council of the Humanities and Creative Writing Program at Princeton University in 1994. Joseph served as law clerk to Justice G. Mennen Williams of the Michigan Supreme Court.