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Marie Ponsot Edit Profile

translator , writer , poet

Marie Ponsot, née Birmingham is an American poet, literary critic, essayist, teacher, and translator.


Ponsot, Marie was born on April 6, 1921 in New York City. Daughter of William Xavier and Marie Candee Birmingham.


Bachelor, St. Joseph's College, 1940. Master of Arts, Columbia University, 1941. Doctor (honorary), St. Joseph's College, 2000.


She was already writing poems as a child, some of which were published in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. After graduating from St. Joseph's College for Women in Brooklyn, Ponsot earned her master's degree in seventeenth-century literature from Columbia University. The couple lived in Paris for three years, during which time they had a daughter.

The couple had six sons before divorcing. Upon returning from France, Ponsot worked as a freelance writer of radio and television scripts. She also translated 69 children's books from the French, including The Fables of La Fontaine.

She co-authored with Rosemary Deen two books about the fundamentals of writing, Beat Not the Poor Desk and Common Sense. Ponsot taught a poetry thesis class, as well as writing classes, at the Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y. She has also taught at the YMCA, Beijing United University, New York University, and Columbia University, and she served as an English professor at Queens College in New York, from which she retired in 1991. Ponsot lives in New York City.


  • Ponsot is the author of several collections of poetry, including The Bird Catcher (1998), a finalist for the 1999 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize and the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Springing: New and Selected Poems (2002), which was named a "notable book of the year" by The New York Times Book Review. Among her awards are a creative writing grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Prize, The Robert Frost Poetry Award, the Shaughnessy Medal of the Modern Language Association, the 2013 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize from the Poetry Foundation, and the 2015 Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry.



Married Claude Ponsot, December 16, 1948 (divorced September 1970). Children: Monique, Denis, Antoine, William, Christopher, Matthew, Gregory.

William Xavier

Marie Candee Birmingham

Claude Ponsot

Monique Ponsot

Denis Ponsot

Antoine Ponsot

William Ponsot

Christopher Ponsot

Matthew Ponsot

Gregory Ponsot