Mother, I'm trying
a poem to you—
which is how most
poems to mothers must
begin—or, What I've wanted
to say, Mother...but we
as children of mothers,
even when mothers ourselves,
cannot bear our poems
to them. Poems to
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 John O’Hara through Deborah Garrison and Tony Hoagland.” Using a conversational voice that’s unabashedly cynical, 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)