Alpay K. Ulku


Chicago, IL
Illinois US

Author's Bio

Alpay Ulku's first collection is Meteorology (BOA Editions), which was selected as an "Notable Debut" by the Academy of American Poets book club.

His poems have appeared in literary journals such as Agni, The American Poetry Review, the Antioch Review, Boulevard, Crazyhorse, Epoch, The Fiddlehead, Field, The Gettysburg Review, The Malahat Review, The Northwest Review, Ploughshares, Poetry Northwest, and Witness, among others. His work has been anthologized in American Poetry: The Next Generation; Poetry Daily; and City of the Big Shoulders: an Anthology of Chicago Poetry. His poem Three Rivers was selected by senior Slate editor Michael Agger for their "Best Valentine's Day poems" feature, and his poem The Stiller of Atoms was selected by the Penn Center for the Book Public Poetry Project to be made into a poster and distributed to schools and libraries throughout Pennsylvania.

His unpublished second collection, The Stiller of Atoms, was a finalist at the National Poetry Series Open Competition (50 finalists out of 1,100 manuscripts submitted)in 2013 and 2016,and was a finalist for the Cleveland State University Open Competition for second book award.

Alpay's commentary about poems and poetics include an explication of "The Second Coming" for Poetry Daily in 2013, and "On Orwell, Dystopia, Writing as Resistance, and Trust" for Beloit Poetry Journal in 2013 as well.

Alpay has received grants from the Illinois Arts Council, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Iowa Arts Council, the Edna St.Vincent Millay Colony, and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation.

Alpay received an MFA from the University of Iowa's Writer's Workshop and a BA from the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies at the University of Redlands.

Alpay lives with his wife, the writer Anne-Marie Ulku, and their two boys, Snapdragon and Wookie-Wu (Lickedy-Split, rest in peace. You were a part of our heart.)

Publications & Prizes

City of the Big Shoulders: An Anthology of Chicago Poetry (University of Iowa Press, 2012)
American Poetry: The Next Generation (CMU Press, 2000)
Meteorology (BOA Editions, Ltd., 1999)
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Atlanta Review
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Canary River Review
Cavalier Literary Couture
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Northwest Review
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Poetry Daily
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Prairie Journal
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The New York Quarterly
Prizes won: 

Honoree. The Penn Center for the Book Public Poetry Project selected my poem The Stiller of Atoms as one of the four featured poems. The Center created 1,500 posters of the Stiller of Atoms and distributed them free to schools, libraries, cultural centers, and cafes throughout Pennsylvania. March, 2012.

Editor’s Selection for Best Valentine’s Day poems by editor Michael Agger.
February, 2011 (

Nominated for Pushcart Prize by Contributing Editors, 2010

Illinois Arts Council. Grant. 2005.

Who's Who In America 2004 (vol. 2, p. 5299); 2002-2004. Inductee.

Selected as an “Exciting Debut” by the Academy of American Poets Book Club

Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown Second Year Fellowship.
Voting member of the Writing Committee for First Year poetry applicants. 1995 – 1996.

Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown First Year Poetry Fellowship. 1994 - 1995.

Iowa Arts Council grant. First Prize Literary Award. May 1992.

Helene Wurlitzer Foundation fellowship. April - June 1989.

Millay Colony for the Arts fellowship. February 1989.

University of Iowa tuition scholarship (all tuition waived). January - May 1988.

University of Iowa research assistantship (tuition reduced to in-state rate plus RA stipend). January - May 1987.

Personal Favorites

What I'm reading now: 
The Waste Land (Norton Critical Editions) 1st Edition by T. S. Eliot, Best American Poetry 2016 by David Lehman, Edward Hirsch, The Flash of Lightning Behind the Mountain: New Poems by Bukowski , The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems by Transtromer , Mahalle Kahvesi (Neighborhood Cafe): stories by Sait Faik

More Information

Gives readings: 
Travels for readings: 
Please note: All information in the Directory is provided by the listed writers or their representatives.
Last update: Aug 02, 2018