Erika Meitner is a poet, and professor of English at Virginia Tech, where she teaches in the undergraduate and graduate creative writing programs.
She is the author of five books of poems, including Ideal Cities (Harper Perennial, 2010), which was a 2009 National Poetry series winner; Copia (BOA Editions, 2014); and Holy Moly Carry Me (BOA Editions, 2018), which won the 2018 National Jewish Book Award in poetry, and was a finalist for the Library of Virginia Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her sixth book of poems, Useful Junk, is forthcoming in 2022 from BOA Editions.
Meitner’s poems have been anthologized widely, and have appeared in publications including Best American Poetry, Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly Review, The New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, and Tin House. Other honors include fellowships from MacDowell, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Hermitage Artists Retreat, Bethany Arts Community, and Blue Mountain Center. She was also the 2015 US-UK Fulbright Distinguished Scholar in Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s University Belfast.
Meitner’s poems generally explore women’s corporeal experiences, as well as interstitial spaces and geographical borderlands, and her work often addresses ideas around sense of place, home, exile, and both personal and collective memory. As a poet with a deep interest in working in documentary modes, Meitner has undertaken larger-scale photo-text projects to investigate specific social and political issues as they relate to particular (often urban) environments, and issues of consumption in an advanced capitalist society.
Meitner completed a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and English literature at Dartmouth College, a master’s degree in religious studies at the University of Virginia, and a master’s of fine arts in creative writing also at the University of Virginia.
Her research and teaching interests include contemporary American poetry and poetics, hybrid forms, documentary poetry, creative non-fiction, poetry and performance, new media creative writing, Jewish and Muslim women’s literature, and the arts and social justice. Her work is also informed by her interests in Jewish studies, material religion, art and architectural theory, ethnic American fiction, anthropology, and ritual studies. She often gives lectures and talks on creative writing pedagogy, poetry and place, and documentary poetics both nationally and internationally.
- Creative writing
- Contemporary American poetry and poetics
- Documentary poetry
- Jewish literature
- MA, Religious Studies, University of Virginia, 2013
- MFA, Creative Writing – Poetry, University of Virginia, 2001
- AB, Creative Writing and English Literature, Dartmouth College, 1996
- Diversity and Inclusion Ambassador, Creativity + Innovation Destination Area, Virginia Tech
- Member, CLAHS Diversity Committee, Virginia Tech
- Member, MFA Committee, Virginia Tech
- Director, Undergraduate Program in Creative Writing, Virginia Tech (2017-2020)
- Director, MFA Program in Creative Writing, Virginia Tech (2015-2020)
- Fellow, The Hermitage Artist Retreat - Englewood, FL (2019-2020).
- Finalist, Library of Virginia Award in Poetry for Holy Moly Carry Me (2019).
- Finalist, National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry for Holy Moly Carry Me (2018).
- National Jewish Book Award in Poetry for Holy Moly Carry Me (2018).
- Fellow, The Virginia Center for Creative Arts – Amherst, VA (2018)
- Jerome Niles Faculty Research Grant, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Virginia Tech (2017-2018).
- Excellence in Research and Creative Scholarship Award, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Virginia Tech (2017).
- Fellow, MacDowell Colony – Peterborough, NH (2016).
- Distinguished Scholar in Creative Writing, US-UK Fulbright Commission US Scholar Award, Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland (2015).
- Jerome Niles Faculty Research Grant, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Virginia Tech (2014-2015).
- 2012 Emily Clark Balch Prize for Poetry from Virginia Quarterly Review.
- Phi Beta Kappa Sturm Award for Faculty Excellence in Creative Arts, Virginia Tech (2011).
- National Poetry Series winner for Ideal Cities (2009).
Holy Moly Carry Me, poems (BOA Editions, 2018).
Copia, poems (BOA Editions, 2014).
Makeshift Instructions for Vigilant Girls, poems (Anhinga Press, 2011).
Ideal Cities, poems (Harper Perennial, 2010).
Inventory at the All-night Drugstore, poems (Anhinga Press, 2003).
Poems in Anthologies
“Letter to Hillary on the Radical Hospitality of the Body.” The Eloquent Poem. Eds. Gabriel Fried and Elise Paschen. New York: Persea Books, 2019. 47-48.
“Pesach in Blacksburg.” Vinegar and Char: Southern Food in Verse. Ed. Sandra Beasley. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2018. 75-76.
“Meadowlands.” The Golden Shovel Anthology: New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks. Eds. Peter Kahn, Ravi Shankar and Patricia Smith. Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas Press, 2017. 30-31.
“Items my sons left scattered on the floor of Flat #1, 5-7 Fitzwilliam Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland.” Still Life With Poem: Contemporary Natures Mortes in Verse. Eds. Jehanne Dubrow and Lindsay Lusby. Chestertown, MD: The Literary House Press, 2016. 36-38.
“Conflict Tourism,” “Drawing by Visitor,” “Ghost Eden,” and “Non-Lieux.” On the Grass When I Arrive: An Anthology of New Writing from Northern Ireland on Place, Home, and Belonging. Ed. Leon Litvack. Derry, UK: Guildhall Press, 2016. 12-13; 16-17; 28-29; 63-65.
“Sex Ed.” Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poems for the Next Generation. Eds. Lynn Melnick and Brett Fletcher Lauer. New York: Viking Penguin, 2015. 112-115.
“Post-Game-Day Blessing.” A Book of Uncommon Prayer. Ed. Matthew Vollmer. San Francisco, CA: Outpost19, 2015. 27-29.
“L’Etrog.” The Book of Scented Things: 100 Contemporary Poems About Perfume. Eds. Jehanne Dubrow and Lindsay Lusby. Chestertown, MD: The Literary House Press, 2014. 78-80.
“North Country Canzone.” 250 Poems: A Portable Anthology (Third Edition). Eds. Peter Schakel and Jack Ridl. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013. 300-302.
“Yiddishland” and “Advice.” The New Promised Land: An Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry. Eds. Deborah Ager and Matthew Silverman. New York: Bloomsbury, 2013. 146-149.
Poems in Journals
“What Follows is a Reconstruction Based on the Best Available Evidence,” Poem-A-Day, The Academy of American Poets (posted 07.18.19 - poets.org).
“Medium/Message,” Literary Hub (reprint, posted 03.11.19 – lithub.com).
“we used to go to the Bulgarian Bar but not together,” and “Médium Adam 25” Crazyhorse 95 (Spring 2019): 19; 20-22.
“I would like to be the you in someone’s poem,” Washington Square Review 43 (Spring 2019): 128-129.
“Welcome to Fear City: A Survival Guide,” The Arkansas International 6 (Spring 2019): 37.
“The Last Decade of the 20th Century,” The American Poetry Review 48.2 (March/April 2019): 19.
“Letter in the Time of Junkmail,” Gulf Coast 31.1 (Fall 2018): 135-136.
“In Defense of the Empty Chaos Required for Adequate Preparation,” The Los Angeles Review (posted August 2018 - losangelesreview.org)
“A Brief Ontological Investigation,” Poem-A-Day, The Academy of American Poets (posted 07.19.18 - poets.org).
“White Earth,” and “The Replication Machine,” Southern Indiana Review 25.1 (Spring 2018): 11-12; 13-14.
“The Clock of the Long Now,” Poetry Northwest 12.2 (Winter & Spring 2018): 4.
“In the waiting room of America” and “The Practice of Depicting Matter as it Passes from Radiance to Decomposition,” New England Review 38.4 (2017): 121-124.
“Jackhammering Limestone,” Tin House 19.1 (True Crime, Fall 2017): 125-127.
“Another Ohio Road Trip,” The Southern Review 53.3 (Summer 2017): 352-357.
“Peregrinus,” Bennington Review 3 (Summer 2017): 105-108.
“Hat Trick,” Colorado Review 44.2 (Summer 2017): 129-131.
“‘Are You Popular?’ (1947),” BOAAT (May/June 2017 issue - boaatpress.com/boaat/).
“Threat Assessment,” Columbia Poetry Review 30 (2017): 251-259.
“Poem with Warehouse Fire & Disaster Recovery Team,” Ploughshares 43.1 (Spring 2017): 120-121.
“Elegy with Lo-fi Selfie,” The American Literary Review (posted March 2017 - americanliteraryreview.com).
“Make America Safe Again,” “Make America One Again,” “Make America Work Again,” and “Make America First Again,” Virginia Quarterly Review 92.4 (Street Life, Fall 2016): 126-153.
“Dollar General,” Oxford American (Fall 2016): 46-48.
“Ghost Eden,” Poem-A-Day, The Academy of American Poets (posted 02.18.16 - poets.org).
“Had Shot” and “Shooting Range,” Tin House 17.1 (Theft Issue 65, August 2015): 147-148.
“You’re Running With Me, Don’t Touch the Ground” and “Remember me as a Time of Day [heartbreak],” Memorious 24 (posted July 2015 - memorious.org).
“Post-Game-Day Blessing” and “On the Road,” The Kenyon Review 37.2 (Mar/Apr 2015): 36-40.
“Insane Flying Machines,” Copper Nickel 20 (Spring 2015): 165-167.
“Outside the Abandoned Packard Plant,” The New York Times (Sunday Magazine, 8 March 2015): MM27.
- Maynooth University (Dublin, Ireland - 2019)
- New York University (New York, NY - 2019)
- Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (Bainbridge Island, WA - 2019)
- Manhattan College, Major Author Reading Series (Riverdale, NY - 2019)
- Salem State University (Salem, MA - 2019)
- Oberlin College (Oberlin, OH - 2019)
- College of Wooster (Wooster, OH - 2019)
- Miami Book Fair (Miami, FL - 2018)
- College of Staten Island (Staten Island, NY - 2018)
- The Yiddish Book Center (Amherst, MA - 2018)
- Bar Ilan University (Ramat Gan, Israel - 2018)
- The Massachusetts Poetry Festival (Salem, MA - 2018)
- Flagler College (St. Augustine, FL - 2018)
- Miami Dade College (Miami, FL - 2018)
- The Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU (Miami, FL - 2018)
- Sweet Briar College, Writers Series (Amherst, VA - 2017)
- Sarah Lawrence Poetry Festival (Bronxville, NY - 2017)
- Trinity University (San Antonio, TX - 2017)
- Hampden-Sydney College (Hampden-Sydney, VA - 2016)
- Washington and Lee University (Lexington, VA - 2016)
- Bryant Park Reading Room (New York, NY - 2016)
- University of Wisconsin-Platteville (Platteville, WI - 2016)
- Colby College Visiting Writers Series (Waterville, ME - 2015)
- Geen Daden Maar Woorden Festival (Rotterdam, The Netherlands - 2015)
- Bath Spa University Stand Up Poetry Series (Bath Spa, UK - 2015)
- Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Series (Belfast, Northern Ireland - 2015)
- Books Upstairs, Trinity College Dublin Reading Series (Dublin, Ireland - 2015)
Select Media Mentions
Article ItemElizabeth Warren Has a Poet on Her Team. Here’s Why That’s a Good Idea. , article
The New York Times, 10/23/2019
General ItemThe Personal Is Always Political: A 2018 Poetry Preview
General Item14 Brilliant Women Poets to Read on World Poetry Day
Huffington Post, 03/25/2016
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