Obituary: Mercer professor, poet Anya Silver


Mercer Professor, Anya Silver, passed away this month from cancer. Photo provided by Kyle Sears.

Mercer University Professor of English, 2018 Guggenheim Fellow and Macon-based poet Anya Silver passed away this month from inflammatory breast cancer, according to Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Silver’s academia included topics related to Victorian British literature, women’s literature, poetry and women’s and gender studies, according to her Mercer Women’s and Gender Studies faculty biography.

Silver’s battle with breast cancer began in 2004 and was in remission until the cancer returned in 2010, according to a WMAZ article.

The returning battle with cancer while being pregnant became the subject of Silver’s second of four books of poetry, “I Watched You Disappear,” published in 2014.

Silver’s poems about cancer were “lyrical verse that gave readers an exquisite, intimate and sometimes angry account of her illness,” according to an obituary by the New York Times.

Along with her poetry, Silver authored several books and essays, including “Victorian Literature and the Anorexic Body” and “The Ninety Third Name of God.”

Amber Jablonki, a junior psychology major, took Silver’s Introduction to Poetry class in fall 2017.

“She always challenged her students to look at life through different perspectives,” Jablonski said. “She always made a point to talk out about the injustices of the world.”

Walker Gibbons, a sophomore computer science major, was in Silver’s Integrative Studies 101 class, Understanding Self and Others.

“She was a wonderful person and professor,” Gibbons said. “One of the most powerful people and most impactful professors I’ve ever had.”

Silver was married to another Mercer University English professor, Andrew Silver.

“Irrepressible spirit, be free. The world is cracked open, your light spilling everywhere but here, where I held you every day and every night,” Andrew Silver wrote on his Facebook page over a photo of his wife, her arms flung wide as she smiles standing in a wave on the beach.


Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article stated that Anya Silver lost her battle with cancer. The Cluster has since been informed that Silver rejected the phrase “lost battle” in reference to her illness. To respect her wishes, we have changed the headline and caption on the photograph.