Eleanor Wilner (née Rand) was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 29, 1937, and holds an interdepartmental PhD from Johns Hopkins University.
She has published several collections of poetry, including Tourist in Hell (University of Chicago Press, 2010); The Girl with Bees in Her Hair (Copper Canyon Press, 2004); Reversing the Spell: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 1998); and Otherwise (University of Chicago, 1993).
Her other works include a verse translation of Euripides's Medea (Penn Greek Series, 1998); and a book on visionary imagination, Gathering the Winds (Johns Hopkins Press, 1975). Her work has appeared in over thirty anthologies, including Best American Poetry 1990 and The Norton Anthology of Poetry (Fourth Edition).
About Wilner's work, the poet Tony Hoagland has said, "[Wilner] has a deep and heroic belief in the transformative power of language and myth. She paddles her surfboard outside the reef where most poets stop; she rides the big waves."
Wilner has been the recipient of numerous awards, including fellowships from the MacArthur Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Juniper Prize, and two Pushcart Prizes.
Wilner, who was formerly the editor of The American Poetry Review, is currently an advisory editor of Calyx. She has taught, most recently, at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and Smith College. She is currently on the faculty of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, and lives in Philadelphia.