LAWRENCE JOSEPH is the author of five books of poetry: Shouting at No One (1983), which received the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize; Curriculum Vitae (1988); Before Our Eyes (FSG, 1993); Into It (FSG, 2005); and Codes, Precepts, Biases, and Taboos: Poems 1973–1993 (FSG, 2005). He is also the author of Lawyerland (FSG, 1997), a book of prose that has been optioned for film by John Malkovich.
His poems, prose, essays, and criticism have appeared widely in both national and international publications. Among Joseph’s awards are two National Endowment for the Arts poetry fellowships and a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. In 1989, he lectured on law and on poetry in Jordan, Israel, and Egypt through the cultural affairs offices of the United States embassies in each country. In 1994, he taught in the Council of the Humanities and Creative Writing program, at Princeton University.
Joseph was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1948. His grandparents were Lebanese and Syrian Catholics, among the first Arab American emigrants to the United States. He was educated at the University of Michigan, where he received a B.A. in English literature in 1970 and was awarded a Major Hopwood Award in poetry; Magdalen College, Cambridge University, where he received a B.A. and an M.A. in English language and literature; and the University of Michigan Law School, where he received a J.D. in 1975. He then served as law clerk to Justice G. Mennen Williams of the Michigan Supreme Court. From 1978 to 1981, he was a member of the School of Law faculty at the University of Detroit. In 1981, he moved to New York City, where he was associated with the firm of Shearman & Sterling; his practice included securities fraud, bankruptcy, and products liability litigation. Since 1987, he has been a professor of law at St. John’s University School of Law. Joseph has published extensively in the legal press, and has been invited to speak at law schools throughout the country, including Stanford, Columbia, Harvard, Michigan, New York University, Northwestern, and Georgetown.