John Balaban

John Balaban is the author of thirteen books of poetry and prose, including four volumes which together have won The Academy of American Poets’ James Laughlin Award, a National Poetry Series selection, and two nominations for the National Book Award. His book Locusts at the Edge of Summer: New and Selected Poems won the 1998 William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. In 2003, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, and in 2005, he was a judge for the National Book Awards. Balaban served as a conscientious objector during the war in Vietnam. In addition to writing poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, he is a translator of Vietnamese poetry, and a past president of the American Literary Translators Association. In 1999, with two Vietnamese friends, he founded the Vietnamese Nôm Preservation Foundation ( In 2008, he was awarded a medal from Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture for his poetry translations and his leadership in the restoration of the ancient text collection at the National Library.

Awards and Honors

John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, 2003

William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, 1998

National Book Award nominee, 1997

National Poetry Series selection, 1991

National Book Award nominee, 1974

James Laughlin Award (formerly the Lamont Poetry Prize), Academy of American Poets, 1974