A lyric poet influenced by Donne, Hopkins, Merrill, and Auden, Averill Curdy notes, “In my own work, the aural quality and weight of words is very important and I think it’s partly an attempt to make them feel as material as the smears of color on a painter’s palette.” Her meditative, dense lines are smoothed by time; as Curdy explains, “I write slowly—always, it seems, at the very limit of what I know.”
Curdy began to write poetry seriously in her 30s, a few years after her mother’s death. Early in her writing career she took a workshop with Ed Hirsch, whose encouragement motivated her to pursue writing further. She earned an MFA at the University of Houston and a PhD at the University of Missouri.
Curdy co-edited, with Lynne McMahon, The Longman Anthology of Poetry (2006)—a painstaking task during which she found that “Elizabeth Bishop and Emily Dickinson seem to be the only poets on whom everyone agrees.”
She has won the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writing Award, a Pushcart Prize, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Illinois Council for the Arts. She has also won a Lannan Writing Residency Fellowship. Her poems have appeared in many journals, including Poetry, The Paris Review, The Kenyon Review, and The New England Review.
She lives in Chicago and teaches at Northwestern University.