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 and American literature from Brown University, where she was a Jacob K. Javits Fellow.
Landau’s 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.” Landau is also the author of Skeletons (Copper Canyon Press, 2023); Soft Targets (Copper Canyon Press, 2019); The Uses of the Body (Copper Canyon Press, 2015); and The Last Usable Hour (Copper Canyon Press, 2011). All of her collections were Lannan Literary Selections from Copper Canyon Press. A Spanish-language edition of The Uses of the Body, translated as Los Usos Del Cuerpo, was published by Valparaiso Ediciones in 2017.
Landau’s work has also been anthologized in The Best American Poetry; The Best American Erotic Poems; Resistance, Rebellion, Life: 50 Poems Now (Knopf, 2017); Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation (Viking Books for Young Readers, 2015); Women’s Work: Modern Poets Writing in English (Seren, 2008); Not for Mothers Only: Contemporary Poems on Child-Getting & Child-Rearing (Fence Books, 2007).
Among Landau’s other awards is a 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship.
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. She lives in Brooklyn.