The University of Pittsburgh Press is deeply saddened at the passing of Ed Ochester—poet, teacher, and editor—who served as series editor of the Pitt Poetry Series from 1978 until his retirement in 2021.
Terrance Hayes, Nancy Krygowski, and Jeffrey McDaniel, who took over as Pitt Poetry Series editors after Ochester’s retirement said, “As the new Pitt Poetry Series editors, having taken up Ed’s role this past spring, we will be doubling our efforts to bring attention to all Ed Ochester did for us, Pitt poets, and contemporary poetry. His role in the career of poets such as Sharon Olds, Toi Derricotte, Billy Collins, Etheridge Knight, and countless others makes him easily one of the most significant poetry editors of the last fifty years.”
Edwin Frank Ochester took over the Pitt Poetry Series in 1978 and published hundreds of collections by established and rising poets. When Ochester inherited the series, he sought to broaden the scope of what American poetry looked like, publishing women poets, poets of color, and queer poets at a time when there was little diversity to be found in the poetry publishing realm. Ochester became a driving force of American poetry, working with poets Billy Collins, Etheridge Knight, Larry Levis, and Sharon Olds. Under Ochester’s leadership, books in the series have been recognized as winners or finalists for the National Book Award, the Leonore Marshall Poetry Prize, the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the William Carlos Williams Award, the PEN America Jean Stein Book Award, and many others.
The University of Pittsburgh Press sends its condolences to the Ochester family.