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Charif Shanahan

Assistant Professor of English


Charif Shanahan (he/him) is a poet and translator. He is the author of Trace Evidence: poems (Tin House, 2023), which was a finalist for the 2024 National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry and Longlisted for the 2023 National Book Award in Poetry. The book was also named a best poetry collection of 2023 by The Guardian. Shanahan’s debut collection, Into Each Room We Enter without Knowing: poems (SIU Press, 2017), was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry and the Publishing Triangle's Thom Gunn Award, and winner of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award.

Shanahan’s poems appear widely, in such journals as American Poetry Review, The Nation, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review, PBS NewsHour, and Yale Review. His work has been anthologized in American Journal: Fifty Poems for Our Time (ed. former US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, Graywolf Press, 2018), Furious Flower: Seeding the Future of African American Poetry (eds. Dr. Joanne V. Gabbin, Lauren K. Alleyne, Northwestern UP, 2019), African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle & Song (ed. Kevin Young, Library of America, 2020), Essential Queer Voices of U.S. Poetry (ed. Christopher Nelson, Green Linden Press, 2024), and elsewhere. 

For his poetry, he is the recipient of a Whiting Award; National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship; the Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University; a Fulbright Senior Scholar Grant to Morocco; and residency fellowships from Cave Canem Foundation, Hawthornden Foundation in Griante, Italy, MacDowell Colony, La Maison Baldwin in St Paul, France, Millay Colony for the Arts, and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, among other awards and recognitions.

As a translator, Shanahan works primarily from Italian. His translations have appeared in Circumference: A Journal of Translation at Columbia University and A Public Space, among other publications, and have been performed by the Vienna Art Orchestra. He is currently completing book-length translations of Corpo presente by Gëzim Hajdari, winner of Italy's Montale Prize for Poetry, and A memoria di mare by Donata Berra.

Originally from the Bronx, Shanahan holds an AB in Comparative Literature and Creative Writing from Princeton University; an AM in Comparative Literature and Literary Translation from Dartmouth College; and an MFA in Poetry from NYU's Graduate Creative Writing Program. He has taught literature and creative writing at California College of the Arts (CCA), Collegio di Milano (Italy), and Stanford University.

Shanahan served as Guest Editor of Poetry magazine from December ’22-July ’23.

Photo credit: Rachel Eliza Griffiths


Poetry & Poetics, Creative Writing


Trace Evidence: poems
Trace Evidence: poems (Tin House Books, 2023)
Into Each Room We Enter without Knowing
Into Each Room We Enter without Knowing  (Southern Illinois University Press, 2017)