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Erin Belieu

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Erin Belieu
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Erin Belieu was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on September 25, 1967, and received a BFA from the University of Nebraska, an MFA from Ohio State University, and an MA from Boston University.

Belieu is the author of four poetry collections: Slant Six (Copper Canyon Press, 2014); Black Box (Copper Canyon Press, 2006); One Above and One Below (Copper Canyon Press, 2000), winner of the Ohioana Book Award and the Society of Midland Authors Award; and Infanta (Copper Canyon Press, 1995), which was selected by Hayden Carruth for the National Poetry Series.

According to the New York Times review of Slant Six, “Her gifts—for clarity, consolidation, humor and moments of hard-earned feeling—are old-fashioned ones. She’s a comedian of the human spirit, in league with poets from Frank O’Hara through Deborah Garrison and Tony Hoagland.” Using a conversational voice that’s unabashedly critical, ironic, and frank, Belieu’s poems address the contradictions, absurdities, and social injustices of modern American life—as well as her takes on feminist issues, history, sexuality, and love—with witty quips and biting satire.

A recipient of the Rona Jaffe Foundation Award, Belieu has taught at Boston University, Kenyon College, Ohio University, and Washington University, and is the former managing editor of AGNI. She is the cofounder and codirector, with poet Cate Marvin, of VIDA: Women In Literary Arts, an organization whose mission is to “increase critical attention to contemporary women’s writing as well as further transparency around gender equality issues in contemporary literary culture.” Belieu currently teaches at Florida State University. She lives in Tallahassee, Florida.


Slant Six (Copper Canyon Press, 2014)
Black Box (Copper Canyon Press, 2006)
One Above and One Below (Copper Canyon Press, 2000)
Infanta (Copper Canyon Press, 1995)

by this poet


Science in its tedium reveals
that each spirit we spirit

ganks a solid half hour from
our life spans.

Or so says my doctor, a watery,

Jesus-eyed man, and hard to suffer
with his well-intended scrips for yoga

and neti pots, notably stingy with the better

When I think of the many people
who privately despise children,
I can't say I'm completely shocked,

having been one. I was not
exceptional, uncomfortable as that is
to admit, and most children are not

exceptional. The particulars of 
cruelty, sizes Large and X-Large, 
memory gnawing it like

a fat dog, are

Field is pause   field is plot   field is red chigger bump where

the larvae feed   corn wig curled in your ear. Field cares not

a fig for your resistance   though kindly   gently   lay your

head down   girl   lay it down.
   When ready   storm   when

summer   kilned