Stephen Berg, Poet and Pew Fellow, Dies at 79

24 Jun 2014


Detail from cover of Stephen Berg's New & Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 1992).

Stephen Berg, a 1993 Pew Fellow in Literature and founder of the American Poetry Review and Zig Zag Press, passed away on June 12. Known for his desire to make poetry an accessible art, he is remembered as a teacher and editor in addition to his work as a poet.

Berg published 17 books of poetry over the course of his career, including most recently: Footnotes to an Unfinished Poem (2001), X= (2002), The Elegy on Hats (2005), 58 Poems (2013), and Here (2014). He also published two translations and nine texts presenting versions of poetry across world cultures. With Robert Mezey, he edited the much-used anthologies Naked Poetry (1969) and The New Naked Poetry (1976), along with six other anthologies. His awards include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, as well as a PEN Translation grant and the Frank O'Hara Prize.

According to his obituary on, Berg had been battling cancer and complications from a fall. At the time of his death, he was a professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, "long immersed in examination of self, the world around him, and the life of the writer." He leaves behind a wife, Millie Lane, three daughters, and four grandchildren.

An open memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on Thursday, June 26, University of the Arts Terra Building, Floor 17, 211 South Broad Street. The American Poetry Review will memorialize Stephen Berg in their 2014 September/October issue, according to their website.