JAMES RAGAN is an internationally recognized poet and for 25 years the Director of the University of Southern California’s Graduate Professional Writing Program. A native of Pittsburgh, Dr. Ragan earned his BA (1966) at Saint Vincent College and his MA (1967) and Ph.D. (1971) in English from Ohio University as well as Honorary Ph.D.’s from St. Vincent College (1990) and London’s Richmond University (2001). Ragan has read his poetry for five heads of state including Mikhail Gorbachev and Czech President Vaclav Havel, and has been honored here and abroad as an ambassador of poetry. In 1985 he was one of three Americans, including Robert Bly and Bob Dylan, invited to perform at the First International Poetry Festival in Moscow. He has recently performed his poetry at New York’s Carnegie Hall in 2000 and 2002 and at the United Nations (2001). Other venues have included Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing, Bangkok, London, Cambridge, Paris, Vienna, Athens, Stockholm, Sofia, Warsaw, Madrid, Moscow, and Prague.

Ragan is the recipient of numerous poetry honors, including three Fulbright Professorships (Yugoslavia, China, and the Czech Republic), the Emerson Poetry Prize, nine Pushcart Prize nominations, an NEA, a Poetry Society of America Gertrude Claytor Award, the Swan Foundation Humanitarian Award and the Presidential Medal at St. Vincent College. He is the author of In the Talking Hours, Womb-Weary, The Hunger Wall, Lusions, Selected Poems, The World Shouldering I, Too Long a Solitude and co-edited Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Collected Poems: 1952-1990. His poetry has been called “arresting and distinctive” (Richard Wilbur), “fine-grained and witty” (C.K. Williams), “a testament to universal brotherhood” (Yevtushenko), and “dominating… with insight that marks major poets” (Miroslav Holub).

In 1997 he was inducted to honorary membership in the Russian Academy of Arts and Sciences. He returns each summer since 1993 to serve as Distinguished Visiting Poet-in-Residence at Charles University in Prague. His poetry has been translated into 12 languages and has been recorded on Sony/Alfa Records, New Letters-on-the-Air, and in A Century of Recorded Poetry for Rhino Records.

Over the years Ragan has also written for the stage and film with original plays including “SAINTS” and “COMMEDIA,” the latter produced by actor Raymond Burr is San Francisco and in Moscow in 1984. As a screenwriter, his original screenplays include “FABER,” adapted from Max Frisch’s novel “Homo Faber” (1991), “THE MAN” written for Clint Eastwood and based on the life of Howard Hughes, and “LADY OSCAR” (France, 1979, Director, Jacque Demy). He has worked as a screenwriter at Paramount Pictures for Albert S. Ruddy Productions and in various production capacities on such films as “THE LONGEST YARD,” “THE BORDER,” “MATILDA,” and for Universal’s Academy Award winner, “THE DEER HUNTER.” His most recent films are “THE LAST STORY OF THE CENTURY” (2007), based on the siege of Sarajevo, and “THE SHOE,” (2007) to be produced in association with Sunmin Park’s Maxmedia (“The Others”). Ragan worked as a script researcher and consultant on the movie pilot of the Emmy Award winning TV series “HOW THE WEST WAS WON.” He was the post-production producer on Dyan Cannon’s Oscar nominated “NUMBER ONE.” Ragan also served as writer, producer, and director for the 1981 PBS film “EXILE,” based on the Iranian crisis.

In 1996 BUZZ Magazine named Ragan one of the “100 Coolest People in Los Angeles: Those Who Make a Difference.”