Search more than 3,000 biographies of contemporary and classic poets.

Molly Peacock


On June 30, 1947, Molly Peacock was born in Buffalo, New York. She attended the State University of New York at Binghamton and Johns Hopkins University, where she received an MA in 1977.

Her collections of poetry include The Second Blush: Poems (W. W. Norton, 2008);Cornucopia: New and Selected Poems (W. W. Norton, 2002); Original Love (W. W. Norton, 1995); Take Heart (Random House, 1989); Raw Heaven (Random House, 1984); and And Live Apart (University of Missouri Press, 1980).

She is also the author of prose, including Alphabetique, 26 Characteristic Fictions (McClelland & Stewart, 2014),The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life's Work at 72 (Bloomsbury, 2011), How to Read a Poem, and Start a Poetry Circle (Riverhead Books, 1999), and her literary memoir Paradise, Piece by Piece (Riverhead Books, 1998).

She is the editor of the anthology, The Private I: Privacy in a Public World (Graywolf Press, 2001), and co-editor of Poetry in Motion: 100 Poems from the Subways and Buses (W. W. Norton, 1996). A President Emerita of the Poetry Society of America, she was one of the originators of Poetry in Motion, a popular program of that places poems on placards in subways and buses.

Peacock has been a writer-in-residence and teacher at numerous universities, and is currently a member of the Graduate Faculty of Spalding University's Brief Residency MFA Program, Elliston Poet at the University of Cincinnati, and Lecturer at the Unterberg Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y.

She was an honorary fellow at The Johns Hopkins University, served as Poet-in-Residence at The American Poets' Corner, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, in New York City, and received awards from the Danforth Foundation, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. Peacock has performed her one-woman show in poems, The Shimmering Verge, Off Broadway and throughout North America. She lives in Toronto.

Selected Bibliography

And Live Apart (University of Missouri Press, 1980)
Raw Heaven (Random House, 1984)
Take Heart (Random House, 1989)
Original Love (W. W. Norton, 1995)
Cornucopia: New and Selected Poems (W. W. Norton, 2002)
The Second Blush: Poems (W. W. Norton, 2008)

Paradise, Piece by Piece (Riverhead Books, 1998)
How to Read a Poem, and Start a Poetry Circle (Riverhead Books, 1999) 
The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life's Work at 72 (Bloomsbury, 2011)
Alphabetique, 26 Characteristic Fictions (McClelland & Stewart, 2014)

Molly Peacock

By This Poet


Couple Sharing a Peach

It's not the first time
we've bitten into a peach.
But now at the same time
it splits--half for each.
Our "then" is inside its "now,"
its halved pit unfleshed--

what was refreshed.
Two happinesses unfold
from one joy, folioed.
In a hotel room
our moment lies
with its ode inside,
a red tinge,
with a hinge.


may favor obscure brainy aptitudes in you
and a love of the past so blind you would
venture, always securing permission,
into the back library stacks, without food
or water because you have a mission:
to find yourself, in the regulated light,
holding a volume in your hands as you
yourself might like to be held.  Mostly your life
will be voices and images.  Information.  You
may go a long way alone, and travel much
to open a book to renew your touch.

A Face, a Cup

The thousand hairline cracks in an aged face
match the hairline cracks in an aged cup
and come from similar insults: careless, base
self-absorbed gestures from a younger face,
cruel and fine. Bang! Each disturbed trace
deepens to a visible crack. A break-up,
a mix-up, a wild mistake: these show in a face
like the hairline cracks in an ancient cup.

Neither wholly broken nor all used up
the cup becomes a visage, unstable.
One never knows what will crack it open
and finish it. Banged too hard on a table?
Yet happiness might crack a face open
in a better way: hairline tracery as laugh lines
releasing the joys of ancient thoughts
cupped into use, and suddenly able.

Related Poets