Myra Sklarew (1934- ), professor of literature and author of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction essays, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to biochemist Samuel Weisberg and his wife, librarian Anne Wolpe Weisberg. She studied biology at Tufts University, receiving her B. S. in 1956, and earned an M. A. in 1970 from the Writing Seminars, Johns Hopkins University, where she studied under Elliott Coleman. In 1955 she married Bruce Sklarew, from whom she was divorced in 1976. The Sklarews' two children, Eric and Deborah, were born in 1959 and 1957. Myra Sklarew has resided in Bethesda, Maryland, since 1961.
In adolescence, Sklarew began her career in the sciences, working summers in research labs and mental hospitals, and studied at Cold Spring Harbor Biological Laboratory, with Salvador Luria and Max Delbruck, and in the Department of Neurophysiology at Yale University School of Medicine. Currently Professor Emerita, Sklarew has taught literature and creative writing at American University in Washington, D.C., since 1970, except for the period between 1987 and 1991 when she served as President of the Corporation of Yaddo, the artist community in Saratoga Springs, New York.
She is the author of three chapbooks (In the Basket of the Blind, 1975; Blessed Art Thou, No-One, 1982; and The Travels of the Itinerant Freda Aharon, 1985), six collections of poetry (From the Backyard of the Diaspora, 1976; The Science of Goodbyes, 1982; Altamira, 1987; Eating the White Earth, 1994; Lithuania: New & Selected Poems, 1995; and The Witness Trees, 2000), a collection of short fictions, Like a Field Riddled by Ants, 1987, and a collection of essays, Over the Rooftops of Time, 2002. A new collection of poetry, Harmless, was published by MayApple Press in May 2010; a co-edited work with Dr. Bruce Sklarew, The Journey of Child Development: Selected Papers of Joseph Noshpitz, M. D., was published in October 2010 by Routledge. A research study, Holocaust and the Construction of Memory, is forthcoming from SUNY Press. Her poetry has been recorded for the Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature in the Library of Congress. In addition, Sklarew has published poems, stories, interviews, essays, articles, and reviews in more than five hundred publications.
Sklarew has given numerous presentations including readings, lectures, and performances during the course of her career as a writer and educator. Over the years, she has been recognized with awards and grants from a wide variety of organizations and institutions including the Poetry Society of America and PEN. She received the University Scholar/Teacher Award from American University. Significant activities there included serving as Director, Writer's Conferences, 1975-1980; Founder and Director, M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing, 1980-1982; and Chair, Department of Literature, 1995-1996.