Alum Forrest Gander Wins Pulitzer Prize in Poetry

Tuesday, April 23, 2019
Photo of Forrest Gander squatting in front of a mossy wall

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE -- Gander, who earned his master’s in Creative Writing at San Francisco State University, was awarded the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his collection Be With. In announcing the award on Monday, April 15, the Pulitzer committee described it as a “collection of elegies that grapple with sudden loss, and the difficulties of expressing grief and yearning for the departed.”

His infatuation with San Francisco poets Robert Creeley and Stan Rice led him to apply to the graduate program at San Francisco State, where these poets taught. He earned his master’s in 1981.

Gander has published 10 books of poetry and two novels. One of those titles, Core Samples From the World, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry in 2012. To finally win it, “is one of the highest forms of recognition for a writer,” he said. “It’s the kind of thing that can transform one’s life.”