Born on May 10, 1961 and raised in the U.S. Army, Vanessa Place received a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, an M.F.A. from Antioch University, and a J.D. from Boston University.
Her books of poetry and conceptual writing include Dies: A Sentence (Les Figues, 2006), a 50,000-word, one-sentence novel in verse; La Medusa (2008); and Statement of Facts (2010), the first volume of her trilogy Tragodía which repurposes legal prosecution and defense documents verbatim; among others.
With Robert Fitterman, she co-wrote Notes on Conceptualisms (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2009), an exploration of contemporary conceptual writers and their work. She is also the author of The Guilt Project: Rape, Morality and Law (Other Press, 2010), an analysis of the prosecution of sexual offenders.
About her texts, she says: "Authorship doesn't matter. Content doesn't matter. Form doesn't matter. Meter doesn't matter. All that matters is the trace of poetry. Put another way, I am a mouthpiece." Susan McCabe describes her poetry as "both humbling and beyond paraphrase, both mythic and contemporary."
In addition to her work as an appellate criminal defense attorney, she serves as co-director of Les Figues Press. Place currently lives in Los Angeles, CA.