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Steve Kowit

Steve Kowit

American poet
The basics
Quick Facts
Occupations Poet
Gender male
Birth June 30, 1938 (Brooklyn)
Death April 2, 2015
The details

Steve Kowit (June 30, 1938 – April 2, 2015) was an American poet, essayist, educator, and human rights advocate.

He received multiple awards for his poetry.

His book In the Palm of Your Hand: A Poet's Portable Workshop has been used in high schools, colleges, universities and writing workshops across the country since its publication in 1995.


Kowit was born in Brooklyn, New York where as a young man he frequently gave poetry readings at coffee houses. After a stint in the Army Reserve, he earned his BA from Brooklyn College. He moved to San Francisco at the age of 27 spending time in the Haight-Ashbury district. Kowit earned a MA at San Francisco State College (now San Francisco State University when he was 30. After refusing Army induction at the beginning of the Vietnam War – or as Kowit called it, “America’s genocidal slaughter of the Vietnamese people” – he traveled to Mexico, Central and South America with his wife, Mary. After the war Kowit returned to the States and resided in San Diego.

In San Diego he started teaching Poetry Writing in his Ocean Beach, San Diego home in the late 1970's. He went on to teach classes at San Diego State University, University of California, San Diego and Southwestern College.


  • National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry
  • Two Pushcart Prizes
  • The Atlanta Review Paumanok Poetry Prize
  • The Oroborus Book Award
  • The San Diego Book Award
  • The Tampa Review Poetry Prize
  • Theodor Seuss Geisel Award in 2007 for The Gods of Rapture
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