Elizabeth Willis earned a BA from the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire and a PhD in poetics at the State University of New York at Buffalo. She is the author of the poetry collections Alive: New and Selected Poems (2015), a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; Address (2011), recipient of the Laurence L. & Thomas Winship/PEN New England Award; Meteoric Flowers (2006); Turneresque (2003); The Human Abstract (1995), a National Poetry Series selection; and Second Law (1993). She is also the editor of Radical Vernacular: Lorine Niedecker and the Poetics of Place (2008). Her poetry has been translated into French, Dutch, Polish, and Slovak.
Of Alive, a reviewer for Publishers Weekly wrote, “Willis has been enthralling, challenging, and frustrating the poetry cognoscenti with hermetic, allusive, scholarly, and startlingly opaque verse and prose since the early 1990s.… Willis also stands out for the many various ways she uses sources from the visual arts, incorporating Ruskin, Giorgione, J.M.W. Turner, Joseph Cornell, and William Blake. Willis’s challenging, cerebral work rewards the patient reader.”
The recipient of a 2012 Guggenheim Fellowship, Willis served as Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing at Wesleyan University from 2002 to 2015. Since 2015, she has taught at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.