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J. D. McClatchy, 2009
Photo: Benjamin Dimmitt
January 22, 2009 -- The poet J. D. McClatchy has been elected to a three-year term as president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters succeeding the composer Ezra Laderman. Mr. McClatchy, who was elected to membership in the Academy ten years ago, has frequently served on its award juries.

On learning of his selection, McClatchy said, "I'm grateful for the chance to serve this great institution, and I look forward to working with its staff and my colleagues in continuing our mission to encourage and support the arts in America. At a time when similar organizations are financially threatened, it's crucial for the Academy - the oldest and most distinguished such group in this country - to set the standard of excellence in its unwavering devotion to the responsibilities of the human imagination."

J. D. McClatchy is the author of six collections of poems: Scenes From Another Life (1981), Stars Principal (1986), The Rest of the Way (1990), Ten Commandments (1998), Hazmat (2002), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and Mercury Dressing (2009). His literary essays are collected in White Paper (1989), Twenty Questions (1998), and American Writers at Home (2004).

McClatchy was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and was educated at Georgetown and Yale, from which he received his Ph.D. Mr. McClatchy has taught at Princeton, Columbia, UCLA, and Johns Hopkins. He now teaches at Yale, where he is Professor of English, and since 1991 has served as editor of The Yale Review.

Mr. McClatchy has also written thirteen opera libretti - for William Schumann's A Question of Taste, Francis Thorne's Maria and the Magician, Ned Rorem's Our Town, Lowell Liebermann's Miss Lonelyhearts; and for Elliot Goldenthal and Julie Taymor's Grendel, among others.

He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He was named a New York Public Library Literary Lion, and has received the 2000 Connecticut Governor's Arts Award. He served as the Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 1996 until 2003.