Peter Sears Bio

During his lifetime, Peter Sears taught at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, the Pacific University low-residency MFA program, and served as Dean of Students at Bard College, community services coordinator for the Oregon Arts Commission, and director of the Oregon Literary Coalition. Between 2014 - 2016, he was honored to serve as Oregon's seventh state poet laureate.

His work appeared in several nation magazines and newspapers, such as Saturday Review, The New York Times, The Atlantic, Mother Jones, The Christian Science Monitor, and Rolling Stone, as well as in literary magazines such as Field, New Letters, Iowa Review, Poetry Northwest, Antioch Review, Ploughshares, and Seneca Review.

Sears authored four full-length collections of poetry -- Small Talk: Poems New & Selected, Tour: New and Selected Poems, The Brink, and Green Diver, in addition to a number of poetry chapbooks, and books on teaching writing. You can find links to many of his books on the Books page


Throughout his career, Sears was honored with a number of awards, including those listed below:

  • The Brink, named one of Oregon's 150 best books by the Oregon State Library, 2009
  • Award for Contribution of Oregon Writing, Willamette Writers, 2008
  • Western States Book Award for Poetry, Western States Arts Federation, 2000
  • Stewart A. Holbrook Award for Contribution to Oregon Literary Life, Literary Arts, Inc., 1999
  • Award of Honor and Appreciation, Oregon State Library, 1988
  • Poetry Fellowship, Oregon Arts Commission, 1984

Founding Organizations

  • Co-founded (with Michael Malan) Cloudbank Books, 2001
  • Co-founded (with Kim Stafford) Friends of William Stafford, 1997; served as director, 1998
  • Founded Oregon Literary Coalition, 1993, a coalition of writers and non-profit organizations for networking and advocacy, served as director through 2009
  • Initiated Across the River, first multi-state literary project in the U.S., funded by the NEA, OAC and WSAC

Administration and Publishing

  • Rubberstampmadness, Inc., manager, 1995 - 1997
  • Oregon Arts Commission, community service coordinator, 1985 - 1998
  • Bard College, Dean of Students, 1980 - 1983