What is sky but water, more water,
crossed by eight bridges?
Is the ancient poet in a rush to reach land?
No, he’s already one of the Six Immortals.
How long before the papery iris-petals
he admires wrinkle? They barely grow beards.
In a thousand years, pilgrims will come.
Though born on August 16, 1949 in Walsenburg, Colorado, Debora Greger spent her childhood in Richland, Washington, the eldest of seven children. Her town bordered the Hanford Site, a plutonium production facility constructed as part of the Manhattan Project in 1943. The plutonium produced at the site was used in both the first nuclear bomb tested and the bomb detonated over Nagasaki. This was where her father, along with many other Richland fathers, worked.
She attended University of Washington and graduated with her BA in 1971. She continued on to the Iowa Writers' Workshop, received her MFA in 1974, and, in the same year, was awarded the Grolier Prize in Poetry.
Her first poetry collection, Movable Islands, was published in 1980 to enthusiastic reviews. Five years later, she published her second book, and. Notably, her 1996 collection, Desert Fathers, Uranium Daughters, revolves around her father's work environment at the Hanford Site and the impact it had on her childhood.
Greger is also a visual artist. Her collages have appeared in several magazines and book covers, including Intention & Interpretation, edited by Gary I. Seminger, and William Logan's Desperate Measures. Her work has been exhibited in venues across the country.
Greger’s numerous awards and honors include grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts; the Academy of American Poets' Peter I. B. Lavan Younger Poets Award, selected by John Hollander; the “Discovery”/The Nation Poetry Prize; and an Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship.
Greger has taught at George Mason University and California State University, Chico. In 1988, she joined the English department at the University of Florida, where she currently teaches. She lives in Gainesville, Florida and Cambridge, England with her longtime partner, the poet William Logan.
Movable Islands (1980)
The 1002nd Night (1990)
Off-Season at the Edge of the World (1994)
Desert Fathers, Uranium Daughters (1996)
Western Art (2004)
Men, Women, and Ghosts (2008)