A former human rights observer in Haiti and Suriname, and a high school teacher in West Africa, Amy Beeder balances an ear for meter with an often ominous tone, creating a musical, at times mythical, exploration of how we construct beauty and strangeness. Critic Sandra Gilbert declared that Burn the Field (2006) “constitutes an impressive debut for a writer who reveres the heft, texture, and taste of words.”
Writing in the journal West Branch, Sarah Kennedy described Beeder’s book as one that “examines the fragility of the mortal body” through “allusive, ekphrastic poems” that have a traditional bent. Kennedy noted that while “sickness and death are … recurrent themes” in Burn the Field, the “counterthrust of Beeder’s musical rhythms and striking imagery suggest that her project is to make beautiful metaphor of our dangerous world.”
Beeder’s honors include a 2001 “Discovery”/The Nation Award, a Bread Loaf Scholarship, and an award from the Emerging Writers Network. Her poems have appeared in AGNI, American Letters & Commentary, Black Warrior Review, The Nation, Poetry, and Puerto del Sol. She has taught at the University of New Mexico and the Taos Summer Writers’ Conference and has served as an editor for Blue Mesa Review. Her most recent book is Now Make an Altar (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2012).