Rosanna Warren

The Hanna Holborn Gray Distinguished Service Professor Emerita in the Committee on Social Thought, Fundamentals: Issues and Texts, and the College

Rosanna Warren is an acclaimed poet, whose research interests include translation, literary biography, literature and the visual arts, and relations between classical and modern literature. Warren studied painting and comparative literature at Yale University, graduating in 1976. After several years of writing, painting, and odd jobs in Paris, Venice, and New York, she attended the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, receiving her M.A. degree in 1980. She taught for one year in the Department of English at Vanderbilt University and then joined the faculty of Boston University, where she taught in the University Professors Program, as well as the departments of English and Modern Foreign Languages, until her departure in 2011. She also taught for several years in several medium security prisons in Massachusetts and published pamphlets of poems by prisoners. Since 2012 she has been the Hanna Holborn Gray Distinguished Service Professor in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. 

Her book of criticism, Fables of the Self: Studies in Lyric Poetry, came out in 2008, and her biography Max Jacob: A life in Art and Letters came out in October 2020. Her most recent books of poems are So Forth (2020), Ghost in a Red Hat (2011), and Departure (2003). In 1995, Oxford University Press published the verse translation of Euripides’ The Suppliant Women she composed with Stephen Scully, and her anthology of essays on translation, The Art of Translation: Voices from the Field, appeared in 1989. She is the recipient of awards from the Academy of American Poets, The American Academy of Arts & Letters, the Lila Wallace Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the New England Poetry Club, among others. She was a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 1999 to 2005, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.

In June 2020, she spoke with the Chicago Tribune about poetry and the pursuit of justice.

Recent Courses in RLL

FREN 27701/FREN 37701 Baudelaire

SCTH 36001, FNDL 27701

An in-depth study of Baudelaire’s works. We will read (in English translation) "Les Fleurs du mal," "Les Petits poèmes en prose," and selections from his art criticism, in order to develop a perspective on this great poet who was both classical and romantic, both a traditional and a revolutionary artist who helped create modernism. Students taking the course for French credit will do readings in French and participate in a weekly French discussion section.

2022-2023 Winter

FREN 26019/FREN 36019 19th-Century French Poetry in Translation: Tradition and Revolution

SCTH 36012

A study of modern French lyric poetry: Tradition and Revolution, Poetry and Politics, the seedbed of Modernism. For graduate students and advanced undergraduates: Desbordes-Valmore, Baudelaire, Mallarmé, Verlaine, Rimbaud, Apollinaire. Texts will be read in English with reference to the French originals. Close reading, references to poetry in English, and focus on problems in translation.  


For advanced undergrads seeking French credit: FREN 20500 or 20503 and at least one literature course taught in French. Students with French should read the poems in the original. Class discussion to be conducted in English; critical essays to be written in English. 

2019-2020 Autumn

FREN 36003 20th-Century French Poets in Translation

SCTH 36003, CMLT 36003

An examination of four poets who shaped the possibilities of the art in the 20th century: Apollinaire, Max Jacob, René Char, and Francis Ponge. We will read the poems in translating with reference to the French originals.


Open to undergrads. Students seeking French credit must read French texts in that language.

2018-2019 Winter

FREN 27701 Baudelaire

FNDL 27701

Une étude approfondie de l'oeuvre de Baudelaire. Nous lirons Les Fleurs du mal, Les Petits poèmes en prose, et morceaux choisis de sa critique d'art, essayant d'établir une perspective sur ce grand poète à la fois classique et romantique, un artiste traditionnel et révolutionnaire qui a aidé à créer la modernité.

2017-2018 Winter
Affiliated Departments and Centers: Fundamentals, John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought