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John Balaban


Tompkins Hall 256

View CV 


John Balaban is the author of twelve books of poetry and prose, including four volumes which together have won The Academy of American Poets’ Lamont prize, a National Poetry Series Selection, and two nominations for the National Book Award.  His Locusts at the Edge of Summer: New and Selected Poems won the 1998 William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America.  He was a 2003 Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and the 2001-2004 Phi Kappa Phi “National Artist.”

During the Vietnam War, on a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship in 1971-72, he traveled the countryside collecting on tape the oral poetry known as ca dao.  His memoir, Remembering Heaven’s Face, was re-published by the University of Georgia Press after being out-of-print for many years.  His translations of Vietnamese oral poetry were published in 2003 as Ca Dao Vietnam: A Bilingual Anthology of Vietnamese Folk Poetry (Copper Canyon Press).  In 2000, Copper Canyon Press brought out his tri-glyphic Spring Essence: The Poetry of Ho Xuan Huong in which the old Nom script was printed for the first time.  His most recent book of poetry is Path, Crooked Path (Copper Canyon, 2006).

In 1999, Balaban founded the Vietnamese Nôm Preservation Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit, to preserve writing in the 1000-year heritage in the ancient Vietnamese script.  He has been President of the Foundation since its inception.  For further information, see

Balaban is Poet-in-Residence and Professor of English at North Carolina State University in Raleigh.  For more information see:

Office Hours

  • Wed: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Or By Appointment


Research Publications

Like Family, poetry chapbook (Red Dragonfy Press, 2009).

Path, Crooked Path (Port Townsend: Copper Canyon Press, 2006). 77 pp. Editor’s Choice, Booklist.  Best of Poetry 2006, Library Journal.

Ca Dao Vietnam: Vietnamese Folk Poetry, (Port Townsend: Copper Canyon Press, 2003). Revised edition. 74 pages.

Remembering Heaven’s Face, (Athens: Univ. of Georgia Press, 2002). Revised edition. 334 pp.

Spring Essence: The Poetry of Ho Xuan Huong, editor and translator, (Port Townsend: Copper Canyon Press, 2000). Trilingual. 135 pp.

Locusts at the Edge of Summer: New and Selected Poems, (Port Townsend: Copper Canyon Press, 1997), 155 pp. (Nomination, National Book Award, 1997). (Wm.Carlos Williams Award, Poetry Society of America).

[with Nguyen Qui Duc], co-editors, Vietnam: A Traveler’s Literary Companion, (San Francisco: Whereabouts Press, February, 1996), 236 pp.short stories.

Words For My Daughter, (Port Townsend: Copper Canyon Press, 1991), 73 pp. poetry.  (Natl. Poetry Series Selection).

[with Geoffrey Clifford, photographer], Vietnam: The Land We Never Knew (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1989), 144pp. [50 pp text].

[with Jerrold Maddox, illustrator], Three Poems  (Penna. Furnace, Pa.: Painted Cave Editions, 1989), 20 pp. [portfolio, limited edts].

The Hawk’s Tale (San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich-Gulliver Books, 1988), 148 pp. fiction for children.

Coming Down Again (New York: Simon & Schuster/Fireside, 1989), 240 pp.revised ed. novel.

Coming Down Again (San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1985), 256 pp.

Blue Mountain (Greensboro: Unicorn Press, l982), 88 pp. poetry.

Ca Dao Vietnam: A Bilingual Anthology of Vietnamese Folk Poetry (Greensboro: Unicorn Press, l980), 87 pp. Editor and translator.

“Walking Down Into Cebolla Canyon” (broadside poem), (Greensboro, N.C.:  Unicorn Press, October, l980).

Letters From Across The Sea/Scrisori De Peste Mare (Cluj, Romania: Dacia Press, l978), l33 pp. poetry, bilingual ed.

After Our War (Pittsburgh: U. of Pittsburgh Press, l974), 84 pp. poetry.  (Lamont Selection, Academy of American Poets; Nomination, National Book Award, 1975).

Vietnamese Folk Poetry (Greensboro: Unicorn Press, l974), 48 pp. ed. and translator.

Vietnam Poems (Oxford, England: Carcanet Press, l970), 16 pp. poetry chapbook.


For Full List, please go to the cv.

Bucknell University (l97l); University of Hawaii (l97l);Gettysburg College (l973); University of Pittsburgh (l974); Carnegie-Mellon University (l974); Bloomsburg State College (l975); Reading University, England (l974); Oxford University, England (l974); BBC Radio Three, England (l975, l977); Kutztown College (l975); WBAI Radio, New York (l975); Gotham Book Mart, New York (l975); Delaware Valley Community College (l975); Amherst College (l975); Donnell Library (l975); Franklin and Marshall College (l975); Boulder Public Library (l975); Bowling Green University (l976); Babes-Bolyai University, Romania (l976, l979); University of Bucharest, Romania (l977, l979); American Library, Bucharest (l977); Pedagogical Institute, Constanta, Romania (l977, l979); Charles University, Prague (l977); University of Sofia (l977); Folger Shakespeare Library (l978); Book Basement, Charleston, South Carolina (l978); University of New Mexico (l978); National Theatre, Cluj, Romania (l979); Writers Union, Timisoara, Romania (l979); Witter Bynner Foundation (l980); Woodberry Poetry Room, Harvard Library (l980); Varna, Bulgaria (l980); New York Public Theater (l98l); McGlinchey’s Bar, Philadelphia (l98l); Harwood Library, Taos, New Mexico (l982); University of New Mexico (l982); St. John’s College, Santa Fe (l982); and San Francisco State University (l982); Bulgarian Palace of Culture (l982); Friends of Scranton Public Library (l982); Bloomsburg College (l983); Valparaiso University (l983); Harbourfront (Toronto, l983); Millersville College (l983); Caffe Tazza (Taos, New Mexico, l983); Loyola University (l983); Colonnade Theatre (New York, l983); Robin’s Book Store (Philadelphia, l983); Colorado State University (l983); Lincoln University (l984); Grand Valley College (l984); Fountain Street Church (Grand Rapids, l984); University of Alabama (Birmingham, l984); Wilkes-Barre Community College (l984); Meusser Public Library (Easton, l984); Caffee Tazza (Taos, New Mexico, l984); UC-Santa Barbara (l985); UC-Irvine (l985); San Diego State University (l985); Laguna Poets (l985); Saddleback College (CA, l985); La Jolla Seacoast Poets (l985); Caffe Tazza (Taos, New Mexico, l985); Swarthmore College (l985); St. Mary’s College (Maryland, l985); Georgetown University (l985); Allentown College (PA, l986); University of Pennsylvania (l986); St. Mary’s College (Maryland, l986); Bradley University (l986); Asia Society (New York City, l986); YM/YWHA (Philadelphia, l987); NY Public Library (New York, l987); PSU Capital Campus (Middletown, PA, l987) Museum of Art (PSU, University Park, PA, l987), Washington Project for the Arts (l987); SOMOS (Taos, 1988); Wm.Joiner Center, U.Mass (1988); St.Bonaventure University (1989); Folger Shakespeare Library (1990): SUNY-Farmingdale (1990); Library of Congress [with Blaga Dimitrova] (1990); Univ. of Athens (Greece, 1991); Hellenic-American Union (Greece, 1991); Tally Richards Gallery (Taos, 1991); Black Oaks Books (Berkeley, 1991); Waldenpond Books (Oakland, Ca., 1991); Printer’s Ink Books (Palo Alto, 1991); Dutton Books (L.A., 1991); Univ. of Pittsburgh-Bradford (1991); Jamestown Community College (NY, 1991); Southern Connecticut University (1992); Indochina Non-Governmental Organization Meeting, SUNY-Stonybrook (1992); NE Association Depts. of English, Penn State (1992); American Literary Translators Meeting, U. of Pittsburgh (1992); International Poetry Forum, Pittsburgh (1992); U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor (1993); Chapters Bookstore, Washington, D.C. (1993); Books & Books, Coral Gables (1993); Florida Internatl. Univ., Miami (1993); Border’s Bookstore, Miami (1993), Notre Dame (1993), Middlebury College (1994), San Francisco Poetry Center (1994), State University of New York-Plattsburgh (1994), Humboldt State University (1994), Tulane U. (1994), U-Mass-Boston (1994), Miami Book Fair (1994), Tobacco Road (Miami, 1995), Small Press Book Fair, NY 1995, Univ. Texas-El Paso (1996), Miami International Book Fair (1996), Broward County Library (1996), Boas Poetry Group (Miami, 1997), Books & Books (Miami, 1997), Elliot Bay Books (Seattle, 1997), Powell’s Books (Portland, 1997), Port Townsend Writers Conference (1997), Village Books (Bellingham, WA, 1997), Border’s (Atlanta, 1997), Valparaiso University (Indiana, 1997), Romanian Consulate Cultural Center (NYC, 1997), Barnes & Noble (NYC, 1997), National Arts Club (NYC, 1997 National Book Award Annual Ceremonies), Miami International Bookfair (1997), American Literary Translators Association (Dallas, 1997), The Writer’s Center (Bethesda, 1998), United States Air Force Academy, 1998, Seattle Center for the Book, 1998, Associated Writing Programs (Portland, 1998), The Liquid Poetry Series (Orlando, 1998), Florida Center for the Book (Ft. Lauderdale, 1998), Eastern Illinois University, 1998, Lenox Hill Settlement House, NYC (one-week residency sponsored by the National Book Foundation, 1998), Francis Martin Regional (Bronx) Library, 1998, Books and Books (Coral Gables, 1998), Open Books (Seattle, 1998), University of Nevada (Reno, 1998), Port Townsend Writers’ Conference (WA, 1998), Tally Richards Gallery (Taos, 1998), University of Indianapolis (1998), Miami Art Museum (1998), Mission of Vietnam to the United Nations (poem recitation to open New Year’s celebration, Tet, 1999), Popular Culture Convention (San Diego, 1999), Rose Cafe (Venice, CA, 1999) Costa Mesa High School (Huntingdon Beach, 1999), Readers’Books (Sonoma, 1999), Cody’s (Berkeley, 1999), Lucian Blaga International Poetry Festival (Romania, 1999), Muzeul Literaturii (Romania, 1999), Florida International University (1999), North Carolina State University (1999), St. Thomas Aquinas College (NY, 1999), St. Lawrence and Clarkson universities (NY, 2000), Chapters Bookstore (Washington, 2000), Borders (Athens, GA, 2000), Freer Gallery of Art/Smithsonian Institution (Washington, 2000), Miami BookFair International (2000), Ohio University (2000), University Authors Days (NC State, 2001), Barton College (NC, 2001), Barnes&Noble (Durham, 2001), Raleigh Professional Women’s Forum (2001), Kalamazoo Public Library (2001), 57th Street Books (Chicago, 2001), Seattle Asian Art Museum (2001),Barnes&Noble (Santa Monica, 2001), San Francisco Public Library (2001), San Jose Public Library (2001), Winston-Salem Public Library (2001), New Hampshire Humanities Council (2001), Mimi Gallery (Westminster, CA, 2001), Harvard University/Grolier Bookstore (2001), Taos Poetry Circus (Caffe Tazza, 2001), Phi Kappa Phi National Artist Presentation (Indianapolis, 2001), University of Pittsburgh-Bradford (2001), the Chicago Field Museum (2001), St. Olaf’s College (2001), MacAlester College(2001), Quail Ridge Books (2001) The American Literary Translators Association (Raleigh, 2001), Friends of the Library, Meredith College (2002), The Baltimore Public Library (2002, The Phi Kappa Phi Induction (NC State, 2002), Main Street Books (Warner, NH, 2002), The Midwest Poetry Series (Kansas City, 2002), The Associated Writing Programs annual meeting (New Orleans, 2002), The Popular Culture Association (Toronto, 2002), Johnson College (Vermont, 2002), The North Carolina School of Sciences and Mathematics (2002), Penn State University (2002), Vassar College (2002), The University of Nevada (Las Vegas, 2002), The University of Nevada (Reno, 2002), Between A & B (NYC, 2002), the Vietnamese Mission to the United Nations (Tet, 2002), Taos Poetry Circus (2002), The Marfa Book Company (Texas, 2002), Mira Mesa Public Library (CA, 2002), Pacific Asia Museum (Pasadena, 2002), San Francisco Public Library (2002), The Ruminator Bookshop (Raleigh, 2002), International Festival of Authors (Toronto, 2002), Lannan Foundation Readings & Conversations (Santa Fe, 2002), Encore lecture (NC State, 2002), DeKalb Public Library (Decatur, GA, 2002), National Humanities Center (2002), American Ambassador’s Residence (Hanoi, Vietnam, 2002), Raleigh Area Tet Celebration (NC State Fairgrounds, 2003), Yale University (2003),UNC-Greensboro (2003), Cooper Union (Peoples Poetry Gathering, NYC, 2003), American Museum of Natural History (NYC, 2003), Phi Kappa Phi, Elon University (Elon, NC. 2003), Brown University, (2003), “Friends of the Library” Annual Luncheon, Univ. of North Carolina (2003), “A Novel Affair” (Dekalb Library Foundation & Center for the Book, Atlanta, GA, 2004), Hollins University (Roanoke, 2004), San Francisco Public Library (2004), Bookstore Santa Cruz (CA, 2004), Whittier College (CA, 2004), Barnes & Noble (Santa Monica, CA, 2004), and Pacific Asia Museum (Pasadena, 2004), Carrboro Poetry Festival (NC. 2004), George Mason University, 2004), Kluge Center, Library of Congress (2004), East Carolina University (2005), Vassar College (2005), Lotus Leaf Café, Cary (2005), Branch’s Chapel Hill Bookstore (2005), Davidson College (2005), Vassar (“Eyes Wide Open,” 2005), San Jose Poetry Center (2006), Haverford School (2006), Smith College Poetry Center (2006), Kalamazoo Air Museum (2006), Valparaiso University (2006), Quail Ridge Books (Raleigh, 2006), Elon University (Elon, NC), University of New Hampshire-Manchester (2006), Copper Canyon Poets Reading (AWP, Atlanta, 2007), Nimrod Magazine Reading (AWP, Atlanta, 2007), Long View Gallery (Raleigh, 2007), Center for Art in Translation (San Francisco, 2007), University of Tulsa (2007), Utah State University (2007), BookShop Santa Cruz (2008), Univ. of California-Santa Cruz (2008), Washington University of St. Louis, (2008).



A.M. Early English Literature Harvard University 1967