The Poetry of Erin Belieu

Belieu Copper Canyon Press poet Erin Belieu will be teaching at the 2010 Port Townsend Writers' Conference, happening this July 18-25. This marks Belieu's widely anticipated second return to the Conference–she also taught in 2004. More about Belieu's work as a teacher is available here.

Belieu's first book (all her books find shade underneath the Copper Canyon umbrella), "Infanta", received high praise from such writers as Robert Pinsky, who noted that "Infanta" was a first book that presented not the "imitative licks of a beginner but a distinctive new voice." Her work knitted together the natural and human worlds, and pays close attention to the driving passions, separate wills, and individual choices that we all make.

The book was selected for the 1995 National Poetry Series, and honored as one of the best poetry books published that year.

Belieu's second book "One Above & One Below" takes its title from the poem "Brown Recluse," a tightly One above and one below rhymed metaphysical piece that posits the life-and-death equation–"spirit of the ratio/ one above and one below"–as central to the poet's art.

Belieu, who was born and raised in Nebraska, notes that the sense of place permeates her work.

This aesthetic influences such poems as "Last Trip to the Island" in her newest collection, "Black Box". (Read an amazing interview about the creation of this poem here!) 

"Black Box" is a raw, intense book, fueled by a devastating infidelity. With her marriage shattered, Erin Belieu sifts the wreckage for the black box (the record of disaster). Propelled by a blistering and clarifying rage, she composed at fever pitch and produced riveting, unforgettable poems.

Belieu is noted not only as a strong poet, but as one of the best teachers of writing we have, period. Registration for all Centrum writing workshops is available here, as well as by calling us at 360.385.3102, x131.