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BJ Ward is the author of Jackleg Opera: Collected Poems, 1990-2013, which received the Paterson Poetry Prize. His other books are Gravedigger’s Birthday , 17 Love Poems with No Despair, and Landing in New Jersey with Soft Hands. All are published by North Atlantic Books (Berkeley, CA) and distributed by Random House.


As an Author: Ward’s poetry has been featured on National Public Radio’s “The Writer’s Almanac,” NJTV's “State of the Arts,” and the web site Poetry Daily, as well as in publications such as Poetry, The American Poetry Review, The New York Times, TriQuarterly, and The Sun, among other journals.


His essays have appeared in The New York Times, Inside Jersey, The Worcester Review, and Teaching Artist Journal, as well as on the American Library Association’s main library advocacy web site ( during National Library Week. One of his poems (“For the Children of the World Trade Center Victims”) has been cast in bronze and acquired as part of the permanent collection at Grounds for Sculpture, an outdoor sculpture museum in Hamilton, New Jersey.


Ward is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize for Poetry and two Distinguished Artist Fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. The Star-Ledger has named Ward one of the “10 Dynamic Jersey Artists Not Named Springsteen” who are “making a difference,” citing his poetry’s “music and physicality.”


As a Teacher: Ward has received the Governor’s Award in Arts Education from the State of New Jersey and has been designated Distinguished Teaching Artist by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. He was also named Teaching Artist of the Year by Playwrights’ Theatre of New Jersey for his work in the New Jersey Writers Project. He has taught at The Frost Place, the Controlled Burn Writers' Seminar, and the New Jersey Governor's School of the Arts. He is the recipient of the NISOD Excellence Award at Warren County Community College in New Jersey, where he teaches throughout the year in the Creative Writing program. He has been honored with the President's Merit Award at the Warren County Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.

Recent appearances include University of Delaware, Rutgers (New Brunswick) Writers’ Conference, Monmouth University’s Bruce Springsteen Symposium, the Lewes (DE) Writers' Conference, the Princeton Public Library, and the 17th Biennial Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, among others. In 2019, he taught in the Creative Writing program at Lafayette College in Easton, PA.


He lives near the Musconetcong River in Lebanon Township, NJ, with his wife, the writer Laurie Granieri, and his son.

BJ Ward 2018 (B&W)--Photo by Mark Hillri

"For the Children of the World Trade Center Victims"

           Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ

Photo:  Paul-Victor Winters

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