Erin Belieu, Centrum's Artistic Director for the Port Townsend Writers' Conference, is the author of three collections of poetry. Her first book, Infanta (1995), was a winner of the National Poetry Series, selected by Hayden Carruth. Infanta was also chosen as a best book of the year by The Washington Post and Library Journal.
Her second collection, One Above & One Below, was the winner of the Midland Authors Prize in poetry and the Ohioana prize, and her most recent collection, Black Box, was a finalist in 2007 for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She is presently Director of The Graduate Creative Writing Program at Florida State University.
Belieu is also the coeditor of The Extraordinary Tide, an anthology published by Columbia University Press that features the work of contemporary American women poets. She has worked extensively in literary publishing and was previously the managing and poetry editor for AGNI magazine, as well as the founding editor of Hotel Amerika.
Erin taught at the Conference in 2004 and 2010. “I believe the Conference is the most creative and dynamic writers' conference in the country," she says. "I'm truly honored to be a part of such a strong artistic tradition and will work to continue the quality programming the Conference is known for nationally."
In addition to her writing, editing, and teacher, Erin Belieu is the co-founder and co-director of VIDA, a literary organization that seeks to explore critical and cultural perceptions of writing by women through meaningful conversation and the exchange of ideas among existing and emerging literary communities.
Centrum’s artistic directors work with program managers and advisory committees to select faculty and design and shape Centrum’s year-round artistic experiences. Belieu joins Lucinda Carver (The Port Townsend Chamber Music Festival), Suzy Thompson (The Festival of American Fiddle Tunes), Corey Harris (The Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival) and John Clayton (Jazz Port Townsend).
Belieu succeeds outgoing director Cristina García, whose tenure ended in July. “Cristina did an especially good job in recruiting a diverse faculty, and in exploring themes of diversity through literary mediums which, I believe, will resonate at the Conference for years to come,” said MacElwee. “We hope she will return as a faculty member in the future.”
Since 1974, writers have come to Centrum to immerse themselves in the writing life and make breakthroughs in their personal work. The Port Townsend Writers' Conference, located at the heart of the thriving Pacific Northwest literary scene, is Centrum's flagship literary program. The Conference is a place to soak in writing for a week with great literary writers and teachers.