University Profiles


Mark Svenvold, M.F.A.

Assistant Professor

Department of English


Professor Svenvold was invited in fall 2009 to the University of Stockholm, Sweden, to talk about his book, Big Weather

Robert Graves captured the working life of a poet. "Prose books," he said, "are the show dogs I breed and sell to support my cat." I am, first and foremost, a poet, working on my next collection. As for my "show dogs," I have written recently about bicycle nomads for Orion Magazine; wildcat oil geology for Fortune/Small Business; and solar power and offshore wind power for The New York Times Magazine. My books include Big Weather (Henry Holt  Co, 2005) about tornado chasers and the culture of catastrophilia and Elmer McCurdy: The Misadventures in Life and Afterlife of an American Outlaw, (Basic Books, 2002), which unravels the bizarre career of a Long Beach, California, fun house mummy. A 2007 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Nonfiction, I cover renewable energy for AOL's DailyFinance. I teach poetry and nonfiction writing at Seton Hall University and am actively engaged in the undergraduate literary and performance scene on campus.


  • MFA, University of Iowa Writer's Workshop
  • BA, University of Washington

Academic Distinctions

Publications/ Poetry:
  • Empire Burlesque, a second book of poems and winner of the OSU Press/The Journal Prize in Poetry, published by The Ohio State University Press, December, 2007.
  • Soul Data, winner of the Vassar Miller book prize, selected by Heather McHugh, the University of North Texas Press, spring, 1998.

Fellowships/ Awards:
  • New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fellowship in Nonfiction Literature awarded for Send In the Clowns, 2007.
  • "Discovery"/The Nation Joan Leiman Jacobson Poetry Prize, 1996;

Recent Colloquia:
  • Stockholm University, invited guest lecturer, November 11th to 16th, 2009: speaking to the departments of meteorology, climatology, and English about Big Weather and (to the English department) about Empire Burlesque.


Office Phone
(973) 761-9000 x5151


Office Location
Room 361
Fahy Hall


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