Stephen Yenser (born 1941 Wichita, Kansas) is an American poet. He is also a literary critic who has written books on James Merrill, Robert Lowell, and an assortment of contemporary poets and co-literary executor with J.D. McClatchy for James Merrill. He is co-editor of five volumes of Merrill's work.
Ha graduated from the University of Wisconsin, where he studied with James Merrill.
He is a professor of English and Director of Creative Writing at the University of California, Los Angeles and he curates the Hammer Poetry Series at the Hammer Museum.
His work has appeared in Paris Review, Poetry, Southwest Review, Yale Review, "The New Yorker," and many other magazines. He lives in Los Angeles.
- Appearances in BEST AMERICAN POETRY anthologies 1992, 1995, 2011
- 1992 Walt Whitman Award. selected by Richard Howard
- "Discovery"/The Nation Award
- Fulbright Teaching Fellowships to Greece and France
- Ingram Merrill Foundation Award in Poetry
- Pushcart Prize
- B. F. Connors Prize for Poetry from the Paris Review.
- Harvey L. Eby Teaching Award at UCLA
- Blue Guide (University of Chicago Press, 2006)
- The Fire in All Things (1993),
- A Boundless Field: American Poetry at Large (University of Michigan Press, 2002)
- The Consuming Myth: The Work of James Merrill (1987)
- Circle to Circle: The Poetry of Robert Lowell (1975).
About Yenser's work, the poet Alan Williamson has said, "Stephen Yenser combines two qualities rarely found together: an extraordinary gift for verbal play and a bedrock seriousness about the emotional aims of poetry. Consequently he can do things almost no one else can: a poem reproducing the modulations of music; a poem in a dead poet's style that becomes uniquely his own, through its meditation on intersubjectivity and immortality."