One of my favorite teaching quotes is by the Zen poet Ryokan (Japanese, 1758-1831): “Who calls my poems poetry? My poems are not poetry. Knowing that they are not poetry, Let’s start by talking together about poetry.”
Elizabeth Spires is a Professor of English and holds the Chair for Distinguished Achievement at Goucher College in Baltimore. The author of seven collections of poetry and six children’s books, she has also taught in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and been a faculty member at many summer writers’ conferences. Her current interests include Japanese ehon, Asian art, and Zen texts and art.
Collections of poetry: GLOBE (Wesleyan, 1981); SWAN’S ISLAND (Holt, Rinehart, Winston 1985); ANNONCIADE (Viking Penguin, 1989); WORLDLING (Norton, 1995); NOW THE GREEN BLADE RISES(Norton, 2002); THE WAVE-MAKER (Norton, 2008).
Books for children: WITH ONE WHITE WING (McElderry Books, 1995); RIDDLE ROAD (McElderry Books, 1999); THE MOUSE OF AMHERST (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999); I AM ARACHNE (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2001); THE BIG MEOW (Candlewick Press, 2002); I HEARD GOD TALKING TO ME: WILLIAM EDMONDSON AND HIS STONE CARVINGS (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2009)
Poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Paris Review, Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, and many other magazines and anthologies and have been featured on The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor. Spires has also reviewed children’s books for The New York Times Book Review.
Exhibits or Performances
I have given poetry readings over the past thirty-five years at colleges and universities across the country and for arts organizations and libraries in New York City, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and Baltimore, Maryland.
External Awards, Honors, Grants
- National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, 1981 and 1992
- Amy Lowell Travelling Poetry Scholarship, 1986
- John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, 1992
- Whiting Writer’s Award, 1996
- Maryland Library Association Author Award, 1998
- Witter Bynner Prize for Poetry, American Academy of Arts and Letters, 1998
- Ohioana Book Award, 2000 and 2003
- Cullman Fellowship, The Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, The New York Public Library, 2011-12
Conference Papers & Panel Participation
Panelist: “Half of Literature Lost: Women’s Writing and the Politics of Erasure,” Associated Writing Programs Annual Conference, Washington D.C., February 2017
Recent talk given on “The Writer’s Changing Voice” at Bread Loaf in Sicily, September 2016.
Academic or Professional Associations
Academy of American Poets