John Haines

2005 Distinguished ArtistLiterary Arts/ScriptworksAward Amount: $25,000

2005 Distinguished Artist Award

John Meade Haines (1924–2011) was an Alaska poet known for his clear, bare voice and a prayer-like verse shaped by wilderness living. He was born in Norfolk, Virginia, and served in the Navy in the Pacific during World War II. He studied art at the National Art School, the American University and the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Art. In 1947 Haines moved to Alaska, bought a homestead outside of Fairbanks, and built a cabin with salvaged lumber. He lived on his 160-acre property until 1969, and he spent his time hunting, trapping, fishing, cutting firewood, clearing trails, gardening, mushing and writing.

Alaska Film Archives, University of Alaska Fairbanks

During his life, Haines published many collections of poetry and essays and a memoir. He served as Alaska’s poet laureate from 1969 to 1973 and received numerous honors for his work. He won a lifetime achievement award from the Library of Congress, earned two Guggenheim Fellowships, received the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, and was a fellow of the American Academy of Poets.

The Stars, the Snow, the Fire – Memoir | Graywolf Press | 1989
Living Off the Country – Essays | University of Michigan Press | 1981
The Owl in the Mask of the Dreamer – Poems | Graywolf Press | 1993
For the Century’s End: Poems 1990-1999 – Poems | University of Washington Press | 2001