Elizabeth Willis was born in Bahrain and lived for many years in Wisconsin before moving to western New York to study at SUNY Buffalo, where she completed a Ph.D. in Poetics in 1994. She taught at various venues in New York, Rhode Island, and California before becoming Poet in Residence at Mills College from 1997 to 2002. Since 2002 she has taught creative writing and literature at Wesleyan University.
Beyond her dissertation on Pre-Raphaelite aesthetics, she has written criticism on 19th- and 20th-century poetry, focusing on the intersections of public and private life, the effects of political and technological developments on poetic production, and the relation of contemporary poets to their predecessors and sources.
BOOKS OF POETRY
Second Law (Bolinas, California: Avenue B, 1993); The Human Abstract (New York: Penguin, 1995); Turneresque (Providence, Rhode Island: Burning Deck, 2003); Meteoric Flowers (Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press, 2006)
╬Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English
Scudding past fancy lights, I’m writing toward your face. If pages enter, they do it with my blessing. There’s no limit to the boy car, its floating night. Noise is noise. Such a you, buying dynamite, rustling in gauze. Don’t speak till sound has eclipsed its idea, your thoughts are on the phone. Sure I’d like a lake, but do we need all ten thousand? The mind can fit just one, well placed among its cabins. How big is our room if we can’t see its edges? Steer that boat toward me like you hope to arrive.
Reprinted from Crowd, V, nos. 1-2 (2005). Copyright ©2005 by Elizabeth Willis.