Born in New York, New York in 1976, Meghan O'Rourke graduated magna cum laude from Yale and received her MFA from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC. She began her literary career as an editorial assistant at The New Yorker, where she also worked as a fiction/nonfiction editor from 2000-2002.
O'Rourke's books of poetry include Halflife (W.W. Norton, 2007), which was a finalist for Britain's Forward First Book Prize, and Once (W.W. Norton, 2011).
Poet and New York Times reviewer Joel Brouwer compared the tone of Halflife to Elizabeth Bishop's: "O'Rourke makes room for many fields of memory in these poems, but locks many others away, often by employing a bemused, detached tone reminiscent of the famously reticent Elizabeth Bishop."
Formerly the poetry editor of the Paris Review and the literary editor of Slate Magazine, she is also a widely published critic and has contributed to The New York Times Book Review and the New Yorker. She received the 2005 Union League and Civic Arts Foundation Award from the Poetry Foundation, two Pushcart Prizes, the May Sarton Poetry Prize from the Academy of Arts and Science, and is the recipient of a Radcliffe Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, and was recently named a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow.