Aaron Coleman

Aaron Coleman

PhD student in Comparative Literature; track for international writers
Graduate Certificate in Translation Studies
Chancellor's Fellow
Bouchet Society Fellow
research interests:
  • 20th- and 21st-Century Poetry
  • African-American Literature
  • Afrodiasporic Literature (Hispanophone, Anglophone, Francophone)
  • Translation Studies
  • African Diaspora Studies
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    contact info:

    mailing address:

    • Washington University
    • CB1107
    • One Brookings Drive
    • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
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    Aaron Coleman is the author of Threat Come Close (Four Way Books, 2018) winner of the Great Lakes Colleges Association’s New Writers Award, and St. Trigger (Button, 2016), selected by Adrian Matejka for the Button Chapbook Prize.

    A Fulbright Scholar and Cave Canem Fellow from Metro-Detroit, Aaron has lived and worked with youth in locations including Spain, South Africa, Chicago, St. Louis, and Kalamazoo. His poems and essays have appeared in publications including Boston Review, Callaloo, New York Times Magazine, the Poetry Society of America, and the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series.

    After completing an MFA in Poetry at Washington University in St. Louis and working in the Public Projects Department at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, Aaron is currently a PhD Candidate in Comparative Literature on the International Writers Track with a concentration in Translation Studies.

    His dissertation focuses on how translation vivifies relationships between Afrodescendant poets in the United States and Cuba. James Weldon Johnson’s and Langston Hughes’ translations of AfroCuban poets like Plácido (Gabriel de la Concepción Valdés) and Nicolás Guillén add geographic and temporal specificity to the comparison of Afrodescendant poetics from different sites of the African diaspora. Situating his own praxis as a translator and poet in relation to the work of black USAmerican translators in the twentieth century undergirds Coleman’s current translation project with Nicolás Guillén’s underexamined 1967 collection, El gran zoo (The Great Zoo).

    St. Trigger

    St. Trigger

    Aaron Coleman's St. Trigger, winner of the 2015 Button Poetry Prize, investigates race and gender in contemporary America through a constantly shifting series of structures, forming its own boundaries in one poem only to break and reshape them in the next. Narrative shatters into pure lyric and reforms in an instant. Coleman's poems define themselves -- sharp and blazing and wholly new.

    Threat Come Close

    Threat Come Close

    In his debut collection, Aaron Coleman writes an American anthem for the 21st century, a full-throated lyric composed of pain, faith, lust and vulnerability. Coleman’s poems comment on and interrogate the meaning of home and identity for a black man in America, past and present. Guided by a belief system comprising an eclectic array of invented saints — Trigger, Seduction, Doubt and Who — Coleman’s quest locates new ways of being in the natural world where “[t]he trees teach me how to break and keep on living.”