Ryan Dzelzkalns is a Midwestern boy at heart.
He was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and moved to St Paul, Minnesota to study at Macalester College. During his time there, he met his mentor Wang Ping, who encouraged him to explore poetry more seriously. By the time he graduated in 2010, he had received the Wendy Parrish Poetry Award.
At Macalester, he also became interested in Japanese language and culture, even taking a one year hiatus to live and study in Tokyo. He still pursues this passion and is working to translate contemporary Japanese poetry into English. In Minnesota, he also spent time working at Consortium Book Sales & Distribution, Graywolf Press, as well as the premiere sushi restaurant, Origami.
In 2013, he moved to New York City to study poetry at the NYU Creative Writing Program, where he worked with Catherine Barnett, Kimiko Hahn, Marie Howe, Major Jackson, Yusef Komunyakaa, Deborah Landau, Eileen Myles, Sharon Olds, Matthew Rohrer, Brenda Shaughnessy, and Rachel Zucker, among others. After completing his MFA in 2015, he began working at the Academy of American Poets, where he is still the Development, Membership, & Communications Associate.