Stephen Berg, Poet and Pew Fellow, Dies at 79

1/3: Stephen Berg. Photo by Michael Ahearn.
2/3: Detail from cover of Stephen Berg’s New & Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 1992).
3/3: Cover of Stephen Berg’s Here (Sheep Meadow Press, 2014). Photo courtesy of Sheep Meadow Press.

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.


Lee is the publisher at Corollary Press and author of the poetry collections Underground National, That Gorgeous Feeling, and Solar Maximum, forthcoming from Futurepoem Press.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Susan Stockton recently retired as the president of the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, a position she held since September of 2003. She is currently studying creative writing at Oxford University. Stockton served as a 2015 Performance LOI panelist.

Originally created with Center support for the 2012 FringeArts Festival, Georgia Tech Arts now presents Thaddeus Phillips’ Red-Eye to Havre de Grace at the Ferst Center for the Arts.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Lucinda Childs is one of America’s most important modern choreographers and an original member of the Judson Dance Theater in New York.

Pew Fellow Yolanda Wisher was appointed the third Philadelphia Poet Laureate by Mayor Jim Kenney on February 5, 2016.

Grants & Grantees

In 2004 the Center awarded Pew Fellowships to 12 Philadelphia-based artists, and grants to 76 dance, music, theater, and visual arts organizations and practitioners in the greater Philadelphia region.

Grants & Grantees

Along with guest curator Aimee Chang and a national advisory committee, Asian Arts Initiative conducted planning for the launch of a new artist residency programt.

Filmmaker and Pew Fellow David Scott Kessler on creating environmentally-conscious art, turning limitations into creative assets, and more.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Rajendra Roy joined the Department of Film at The Museum of Modern Art as Chief Curator in July 2007, overseeing the museum’s film collection, and their preservation and exhibition efforts. Roy served as a Pew Fellowships panelist in 2015.

Pew Fellow and visual artist Benjamin Volta leads an artmaking workshop as part of Historic Germantown’s ongoing Center-funded project Elephants on the Avenue.

Grants & Grantees

In 1992 the Center awarded Pew Fellowships to 16 visual arts, dance, and music artists in the greater Philadelphia region, including Odean Pope and Judith Schaechter.

Questions of Practice

Poet and 2011 Pew Fellow CAConrad is well known for poetry collections such as A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon and The Book of Frank. His latest book is ECODEVIANCE: (Soma)tics for the Future Wilderness.