Associate Professor of Writing
Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Building
David Lehman has taught in The New School’s MFA in Creative Writing Program since its inception in 1996. He launched The Best American Poetry series in 1988 and continues as the anthology's series editor. A native New Yorker, he graduated from Stuyvesant High School and Columbia University, which awarded him the Kellett Fellowship for two years of study at Oxford or Cambridge. Lehman chose Cambridge (Clare College). Upon his return to New York he resumed studies at Columbia and worked as Lionel Trilling’s research assistant. He received the PhD in 1978 with a thesis on the prose poem in England and America with reference to the French tradition. After teaching at Hamilton College, he won a post-doctoral fellowship at Cornell University's Society for the Humanities. For most of the 1980s he worked as a freelance journalist, writing regularly for Newsweek and other publications. An Alternative to Speech (1986) and Operation Memory (1990), his first two books of poems were published by Princeton University Press. Subsequent collections include Valentine Place (1996), The Daily Mirror (2000), The Evening Sun (2003), When a Woman Loves a Man (2005), Yeshiva Boys (2009), New and Selected Poems (2013), and Poems in the Manner Of (2017), all from Scribner. Lehman's eight nonfiction books include Sinatra’s Century: One Hundred Notes on the Man and His World (2015); The State of the Art: A Chronicle of American Poetry, 1988-2014 (2015); The Perfect Murder: A Study in Detection (rev. ed. 2000); The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets (1998), and Signs of the Times: Deconstruction and the Fall of Paul de Man (1991). His book, A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs, won the Deems Taylor Award from ASCAP in 2010. Lehman wrote and designed a library exhibit based on the book, which traveled to 55 libraries in 27 states from May 2011 through April 2012. Lehman has edited The Oxford Book of American Poetry (2006), Great American Prose Poems (2013), among other anthologies, and was general editor of the University of Michigan Press's Poets on Poetry Series for a twelve-year period. He has received fellowships and awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the Lila Wallace -- Reader's Digest Fund. His poems, essays, and stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The American Scholar, The Atlantic, American Heritage, People, The Yale Review, Smithsonian, Art in America, and Harper’s. He lives in New York City.
Creative Thesis & Lit. Project