Harriet Diann Blakely was born on June 1, 1957, in Anniston, Alabama. She received a BA in art history from the University of the South in 1979, an MA in literature from Vanderbilt University the following year, and an MFA from Vermont College in 1989.
Blakely authored three poetry collections: Cities of Flesh and the Dead (Elixir Press, 2008), winner of the Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award for a manuscript in progress; Farewell, My Lovelies (Story Line, 2000); and Hurricane Walk (BOA Editions, 1992).
Of Blakely’s poetry, poet Denise Duhamel said, “Blakely’s storytelling is complex, no-nonsense, and often full of pain. Her voice is an in-your-face voice, an almost performance-poetry voice, yet her poems are full of craft and gorgeousness.”
She was awarded the Pushcart Prize in both 1994 and 1995 and served as a Robert Frost Fellow at Bread Loaf and a Dakin Williams Fellow at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference.
Blakely taught at Belmont University, Harvard University, and Vanderbilt University, among others. An editor and critic known for her extensive knowledge of Southern poetry, Blakely served as a poetry editor at The Antioch Review for twelve years before becoming the poetry editor at New World Writing.
Blakely passed away on August 5, 2014, at the age of fifty-seven. At the time of her death, she was working on two new books, Rain in Our Door: Duets with Robert Johnson and Lost Addresses: New and Selected Poems.
Cities of Flesh and the Dead (Elixir Press, 2008)
Farewell, My Lovelies (Story Line, 2000)
Hurricane Walk (BOA Editions, 1992)