About the Benefactors
Henry Clark Bourne Jr. (1921 - 2010) was born in Tarboro, NC. He served in the Army Corps of Engineers from 1943 to 1946, before returning to MIT to earn Masters and Doctoral degrees in Electrical Engineering. He served as a professor in many top universities, including the University of California, Berkeley, Rice University, and later, Georgia Tech. He later served as the Vice President of Academic Affairs and, from 1986-1987, as the Interim President of Georgia Tech.
Henry and his wife of 56 years, Margaret Thomas Bourne (1929 - 2014) were named honorary alumni of Georgia Tech. Margaret was also born and raised in Tarboro, NC, and earned a bachelor's degree in sociology-economics from Salem College in 1952.
Margaret and Henry Bourne endowed the Bourne Chair in Poetry in 2002 to ensure that Georgia Tech students would always have an opportunity for first-rate instruction in the great poetry of the world. They considered it especially important that, in the highly specialized and technical areas of engineering, science, and management, students' aptitudes for the humanities are nurtured and supported as a foundation for life-long learning.
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Ilya Kaminsky (2018 - 2022)
Ilya Kaminsky served as the second Bourne Chair of Poetry at Georgia Tech from 2018 - 2022, being appointed to succeed Thomas Lux.
He is the author of Deaf Republic (Graywolf Press, 2019) and Dancing In Odessa (Tupelo Press, 2004) and co-editor and co-translator of many other books, including The Ecco Anthology of International Poetry (Harper Collins, 2010) and Dark Elderberry Branch: Poems of Marina Tsvetaeva (Alice James Books, 2012).
His work won The Los Angeles Times Book Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the National Jewish Book Award, the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Whiting Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Metcalf Award, Lannan Fellowship, Academy of American Poets’ Fellowship, NEA Fellowship, Poetry magazine's Levinson Prize, the Ruth Lilly Fellowship, and was also shortlisted for the National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, Neustadt International Literature Prize, and T.S. Eliot Prize (UK).
Deaf Republic was The New York Times’ Notable Book for 2019, and was also named Best Book of 2019 by dozens of other publications, including Washington Post, Times Literary Supplement, The Telegraph, Publishers Weekly, The Guardian, Irish Times, Vanity Fair, Lithub, Library Journal, and New Statesman.
Ilya's poems have been included in Best American Poetry and Pushcart Prize anthologies, and translated into over twenty languages. His books are published in many countries, including Turkey, Netherlands, Germany, Russia, France, Mexico, Macedonia, Romania, Spain and China, where his poetry was awarded the Yinchuan International Poetry Prize. In 2019, Kaminsky was selected by BBC as “one of the 12 artists that changed the world.”
Thomas Lux (2002 - 2017)
Born in Northampton, Massachusetts, in 1946 to working class parents, Thomas Lux attended Emerson College and the University of Iowa. Thomas Lux taught at Sarah Lawrence College for twenty-seven years, the last nineteen of which, he was director of its M.F.A. Program in Poetry.
From his debut collection, Memory’s Handgrenade (1972), Lux’s poetry gradually evolved toward a more direct treatment of immediately available--though no less strange--human experience, using ironic or sardonic speakers, startlingly apt imagery, careful rhythms, and reaching into history for subject matter. Lux published fourteen books of poems, most recently To the Left of Time, and several limited edition books that earned him, among other awards and prizes, the $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Prize, four Pushcart Prizes, and grants from the Mellon Foundation, the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and three from the National Endowment for the Arts. He also edited and wote the introduction for Bill Knott's I Am Flying into Myself: Selected Poems 1960-2014 (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2017).