Headshot of S. Kleinman looking away from camera

Creative Writing (BFA)


Once you read Life Cycle of a Bear, you’ll do like I did: you’ll flip back through the pages to read it again, realizing, 'Yeah, what you wanted, what you want, is freedom,’ which Kleinman offers in this inspiring debut.

- A. Van Jordan


Steven Kleinman is the interim director of Creative Writing and a visiting assistant professor. He is the author of Life Cycle of a Bear, winner of the 2019 Philip Levine Poetry Prize. 

Regarding Life Cycle of a Bear, A. Van Jordan writes, “The deep image is alive and well in the hands of Steven Kleinman, who, in Life Cycle of a Bear, has managed to talk to us about what’s on our minds once we turn off the news of the day. We find in this stirring debut a poet engaged not only with the world around him but also with the mind as it tries to make sense of that world. So much of how we make sense of this world—relationships with others, our work life, where we choose to live—takes shape in our families first. These poems understand this but they also offer a fresh take on this dynamic, breathing some much-needed new life into the subject. The biggest surprise is the ‘Bear’ poem sequence, which is one of the finest I’ve read in the past ten years."

Steven’s poetry has appeared in The American Poetry Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Oversound, The Iowa Review, The Gettysburg Review, Copper Nickel and numerous other journals. He has been anthologized in The Best American Poetry 2020, edited by Paisley Rekdal. 

Steven is a contributing editor of The American Poetry Review and a cohost of the American Poetry Review Podcast. 

Visit Steven's website

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