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Sandy Solomon

Writer in Residence

Sandy Solomon is Writer in Residence and Associate Director of the Creative Writing Program at Vanderbilt.  She holds a BA and MA in History from the University of Chicago, an MA from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, and an MFA from Warren Wilson College’s Program for Writers.

Her book of poems, Pears, Lake, Sun, won the Agnes Lynch Starrett award from the University of Pittsburgh Press. Individual poems have appeared in such national magazines as The New Yorker, The New Republic, The Threepenny Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Times Literary Supplement, and Partisan Review. Garrison Keillor has featured a poem on his radio program, The Writer’s Almanac, and several poems have been included in anthologies.  Solomon was a Bunting Fellow in Poetry at what is now called the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard (1997-1998) and she continued as Visiting Poet there the following academic year (1998-1999). 

Sandy Solomon came to poetry after other intellectual stops:  history and public policy/advocacy.  She spent more than a decade in Washington, DC where she advocated for community-based development, minority rights, and support for low-income people, first as Director of Government Affairs for the National Urban Coalition, and then, as director and co-founder of two national nonprofit organizations, both of which continue today: 1) the National Neighborhood Coalition, composed of groups serving community-based organizations across America, and 2) the Coalition on Human Needs, the joint effort of more than 100 national organizations and trade unions, dedicated to preserving federal support for programs serving the poor.  To support her work on poetry, she became an independent writer, turning out articles, grant proposals, speeches, brochures, reports--you name it--for Washington clients, and she continued to work as a freelance writer in Washington, London and Princeton for many years.  During this period, she specialized in working with voluntary sector organizations—her longest associations were with the Independent Sector in Washington and the Charities Aid Foundation in London.

Solomon, who came to Vanderbilt in 2008, teaches nonfiction writing in such courses as Other People’s Lives: Memoir, Profile and Biography; Advocacy Writing; and On Memoir:  People, Places, and Historical Events.