Mary Jo Bang (October 22, 1946 – ) is an American poet. Born in Waynesville, Missouri, Bang grew up in Ferguson and graduated from McCluer High School. She received a BA and an MA in Sociology from Northwestern University, a BA in photography from the Polytechnic of Central London, and an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University.
Bang is the author of several books of poems, including Apology for Want (1997), which received the Katherine Bakeless Nason Prize and the 1998 Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award; Louise in Love (2001); The Downstream Extremity of the Isle of Swans (2001); The Eye Like a Strange Balloon (2004); Elegy (2007), which won both the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award; and The Bride of E (2009); Inferno (2012); The Last Two Seconds (2015), A Doll for Throwing (2017) and Purgatorio (2021).
Bang has received numerous honors and awards for her work, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Bellagio Foundation, a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, and a Berlin Prize residential fellowship from the American Academy in Berlin. She has received a “Discovery”/The Nation award, a Pushcart Prize, and her poems have been included in multiple editions of The Best American Poetry. Her work has appeared in numerous periodicals, including New Republic, Yale Review, Boston Review, Paris Review, Columbia, Denver Quarterly, Ploughshares, Kenyon Review, Harvard Review, Nation, Notre Dame Review, Tin House, New Yorker, and New American Writing.
Bang was the poetry co-editor of the Boston Review from 1995 to 2005, and is currently a professor at Washington University in St. Louis.