was an American poet, essayist and educator. He had administered literary programs at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP), the National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts is an independent agency of the United States federal government that offers support and funding for projects exhibiting artistic excellence. It was created by an act of the U.S. Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. Its current...
, the Academy of American Poets
The Academy of American Poets is a non-profit organization dedicated to the art of poetry. The Academy was incorporated as a "membership corporation" in New York State in 1934...
, and the Folger Shakespeare Library
The Folger Shakespeare Library is an independent research library on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., in the United States. It has the world's largest collection of the printed works of William Shakespeare, and is a primary repository for rare materials from the early modern period...
. He was also the director, most recently, of the graduate Writing Seminars at Bennington College
Bennington College is a liberal arts college located in Bennington, Vermont, USA. The college was founded in 1932 as a women's college and became co-educational in 1969.-History:-Early years:...
Life and work
Liam's class was one of my favorite experiences at the New School, as I'm sure it was for many others. He was a wonderful man and a terrific poet and teacher. I remember hearing him read at a PSA reading. He read last, I was bored and tired, and he blew the doors off the place. He just exuded a poetic gravitas, and I know few poets who read with such grace and class. I'll miss him.
Rector, born in Washington, D.C, was the author of volumes of poetry including The Executive Director of the Fallen World
(University of Chicago, 2006), American Prodigal
(Story Line, 1994), and The Sorrow of Architecture
(Dragon Gate, 1984).
He co-edited with Tree Swenson On the Poetry of Frank Bidart
Frank Bidart is an American academic and poet.-Biography:In 1957, he began to study at the University of California at Riverside and went on to Harvard, where he was a student and friend of Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop...
: Fastening the Voice to the Page
(University of Michigan, 2007), and edited The Day I Was Older: On the Poetry of Donald Hall
Donald Hall is an American poet. He was appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 2006.-Personal life:...
(Story Line, 1989).
Rector founded and directed the graduate writing seminars at Bennington College in Vermont and taught at Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...
, The New School
The New School is a university in New York City, located mostly in Greenwich Village. From its founding in 1919 by progressive New York academics, and for most of its history, the university was known as the New School for Social Research. Between 1997 and 2005 it was known as New School University...
, and Emerson College
Emerson College is a private coeducational university located in Boston, Massachusetts. Founded in 1880 by Charles Wesley Emerson as a "school of oratory," Emerson is "the only comprehensive college or university in America dedicated exclusively to communication and the arts in a liberal arts...
Rector committed suicide in his Greenwich Village
Greenwich Village, , , , .in New York often simply called "the Village", is a largely residential neighborhood on the west side of Lower Manhattan in New York City. A large majority of the district is home to upper middle class families...
apartment on August 15, 2007.
The Liam Rector First Book Prize for Poetry is awarded annually by Briery Creek Press to honor the best emerging poets with their first full-length poetry publication.