Bob Holman

Appears in: Poets

Bob Holman’s poetry has traversed genres, styles and media since the 1970’s, when he began directing Poets Theater productions by Mayakovsky, Artaud, O'Hara and others at St. Marks Church. It was also at St. Mark's where Holman began his career as an arts administrator, serving at the Poetry Project as Coordinator, host, and workshop leader for six years, 1978-84. The first of Holman’s sixteen poetry collections, Tear To Open, was published by Power Mad Press in 1979. In 1985, Holman served as the host of “Lines,” a radio series for the Detroit Institute for the Arts. While serving as co-director of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe from 1988-96, Holman continued to explore the intersection of poetry and performance, originating and hosting the Cafe’s historic Poetry Slam series. Through Holman’s involvement at the Nuyorican, he became an instrumental figure in the popularization of performance poetry movements around the world. He won a Bessie (Off-Broadway) Award for Performance Excellence in 1992 for his work at the Nuyorican, and in 1993, the Cafe presented Holman with its Legends Award.

In 1993, Holman became a professor of writing at The New School For Social Research, where he taught "Exploding Text: Poetry Performance" for three years. That year, and again in 2001, Holman was a New York Foundation for the Arts Poetry Fellow.

Holman co-edited Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, an anthology of Nuyorican poetry which received the 1994 Before Columbus Foundation’s American Book Award. In his June, 1995 New Yorker profile, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. described Holman as “The postmodern promoter who has done more to bring poetry to cafes and bars than anyone since Ferlinghetti.”