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About this poet

Deborah Landau grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and earned a BA from Stanford University. She went on to receive an MA in English from Columbia University and a PhD in English from Brown University, where she was a Jacob K. Javits Fellow.

Her first poetry collection, Orchidelirium (Anhinga Press, 2004), was selected by Naomi Shihab Nye for the Robert Dana Anhinga Prize for Poetry. In her citation, Nye wrote, “Hooray for a writer who can weave presence and absence, longing and loss of longing, into a tapestry of language as rich, honest, and compelling as this.”

She is also the author of The Uses of the Body (Copper Canyon Press, 2015) and The Last Usable Hour (Copper Canyon Press, 2011).

Landau’s poems are known for their frequent concern with the everyday; in an interview with The Talks, she says, “So much happens on the inside—in the mind—that even the most ordinary days often feel mysterious, wild, exhilarating. When a poem works, the familiar is made strange again, and life is revealed in all of its inarticulable weirdness.”

Landau directs the Creative Writing Program at New York University, and she lives with her husband and children in New York City.


Selected Bibliography

The Uses of the Body (Copper Canyon Press, 2015)
The Last Usable Hour (Copper Canyon Press, 2011)
Orchidelirium (Anhinga Press, 2004)

from "Late Summer"

I’m on a bike and someone’s name is forming.

The road is potholes the road is dust.

Cruising the dirt, the meadow humming with bugs.

Dust rising, tires crushing rock, bats ejecting from under the barn

streaming the insected air the pulse life repeating life looping back

slowing down getting longer though it didn’t and isn’t.

A little letting go of fear.

A little spittle in death’s eye.

Don’t ask don’t think (I didn’t ask or think).

Didn’t think don’t think.

I remember giving in to it lying back and then

little sprout of willow

spray of the earth green of leaves the light coming down

as if through a ferny veil dirty primal randomly animate

and we are in it still.

From The Uses of the Body, published by Copper Canyon Press. Copyright © 2015 by Deborah Landau. Reprinted with permission of Copper Canyon Press.

From The Uses of the Body, published by Copper Canyon Press. Copyright © 2015 by Deborah Landau. Reprinted with permission of Copper Canyon Press.

Deborah Landau

Deborah Landau

Deborah Landau is the author of three books of poems, including The Uses of the Body (Copper Canyon Press, 2015). She teaches in and directs the Creative Writing Program at New York University.

by this poet

poem
A breath leaves the body, and wishes it could return maybe,
the news to the left and right rich with failure, terror, dither,
the bloated moon in constant charge of us like vapor—
 
2
poem

At night, down the hall into the bedroom we go.
In the morning we enter the kitchen.
Places, please. On like this,

without alarm. I am the talker and taker
he is the giver and the bedroom man.
We are out of order but not broken.

He says, let's make this one short.
She

poem

Before you have kids,
you get a dog.

Then when you get a baby,
you wait for the dog to die.

When the dog dies,
it’s a relief.

When your babies aren’t babies,
you want a dog again.

The uses of the body,
you see where they end.

But we are only in the middle,