Anders Carlson-Wee
Photo Courtesy of the Author

Anders Carlson-Wee is the author of THE LOW PASSIONS (W.W. Norton, 2019), a New York Public Library Book Group Selection, and DYNAMITE (Bull City Press, 2015), winner of the Frost Place Chapbook Prize. His work has appeared in The Paris Review, BuzzFeed, Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Sun, Poetry Daily, Best American Nonrequired Reading, and many other publications. The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Poets & Writers, Bread Loaf, Sewanee, and the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, he is the winner of the 2017 Poetry International Prize. His work has been translated into Chinese. Anders holds an MFA from Vanderbilt University and lives in Cincinnati. He is represented by Rob McQuilkin at Massie & McQuilkin Literary Agents.

THE LOW PASSIONS was recently selected for the New York Public Library Book Group. If you’d like to use it for your book group, feel free to contact Kyle Radler at Norton.

As a visiting writer, Anders has been hosted by universities, high schools, bookstores, and book festivals across the country, including Emory University, Vanderbilt University, Rutgers University, Penn State, University of Portland, Pacific Lutheran University, Auburn University, Western Washington University, California Lutheran University, Carleton College, University of Hartford, NC State University, Washington & Jefferson College, Phillips Exeter Academy, the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, the Nightingale-Bamford School in NYC, the Southern Festival of Books, Wisconsin Book Festival, the Marin Poetry Center, Powell’s Bookstore, Greenlight Poetry Salon in Brooklyn, the Fourth Sundays Reading Series at Claremont Library in Los Angeles, and the New York Public Library Book Group.

Anders recently served as the 2019 CONNECTICUT POETRY CIRCUIT TOURING POET, offering readings from THE LOW PASSIONS at Connecticut universities. Founded in 1964, the Connecticut Poetry Circuit has featured a long list of esteemed poets, including Frank Bidart, Natasha Trethewey, Charles Simic, Adrienne Rich, Mark Strand, James Merrill, Robert Pinsky, Edward Hirsch, Richard Hugo, Galway Kinnell, Mark Doty, Marilyn Nelson, Mary Jo Salter, Donald Justice, Aracelis Girmay, Martín Espada, James Tate, Tom Sleigh, Mark Jarman, Safia Elhillo, Brian Turner, and Charles Wright.

Anders is co-director of the award-winning film, RIDING THE HIGHLINE, which traces a freight-hopping trip across the nation. A hybrid project—half documentary, half poetry video—RIDING THE HIGHLINE has won numerous prizes at film festivals, including the Napa Valley Film Festival, Rochester International Film Festival, and the Arizona International Film Festival. Anders often pairs screenings of RIDING THE HIGHLINE with his poetry readings to create multidisciplinary events.



  • 2017 Eric Hoffer Award Grand Prize Shortlist 

  • 2017 Eric Hoffer Award: Chapbook Category, First Runner-Up

Further Reading
Mercy Songs
February 2016

This is a wholly unique and powerful collection of poems. The sense of purpose puts one in mind of Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road,” but the darker need to search for meaning in the American plains and points farther west—a vastness forlorn and almost unknowable—belongs to the shared vision of these two brother-poets. Their journeys through our national ambiguity discover a flicker in our roots, a spark popping from obscurity that rises into the heavens.
—Maurice Manning, author of Railsplitter

Strangers, stragglers, the homeless, and a girl named Saturday who plays the guitar—from Seattle, to Portland, to Bolinas, mercy songs traces our human roots back to the first of us who roamed the earth, back when “We knew there was something important inside the sound.” These brothers speak to one another in a private language made lyric, made public, knowing no matter who they meet along the way, no one will ever know them as intimately as they know one another. A hauntingly beautiful and unusual debut collection.
—Dorianne Laux, author of Only As the Day Is Long