poem index


Deborah Landau

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Deborah Landau

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)



Deborah Landau, P.O.P

1 of 1

by this poet

the moon might rise and it might not
and if it brings a ghost light we will read beneath it

and if it returns to earth
we will listen for its phrases

and if I'm alone at the bedside table
I will have a ghost book to refer to

and when I lie back I'll see its imprint 
beneath my blood-red lids:

not lettered

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.

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—