Poet and essayist Lia Purpura was raised on Long Island and earned a BA from Oberlin College and an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She is the author of the poetry collections The Brighter the Veil (1996); Stone Sky Lifting (2000); King Baby (2008), which won a Beatrice Hawley Award; and It Shouldn’t Have Been Beautiful (2015). Her essays collections include Increase (2000); On Looking (2006), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Rough Likeness (2011). In both poetry and essays, Purpura values acts of attention, working toward “a kind of commitment to the worth and value of a small moment, one otherwise lost if not attended to,” as she put it in an interview with Noah Charney. Purpura also translated the Grzegorz Musial collections Berliner Tagebuch and Taste of Ash (1998).
Purpura’s honors and awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, and the Maryland State Arts Council. Purpura teaches at the Rainier Writing Workshop and the University of Maryland, where she is currently writer-in-residence. She lives in Baltimore.
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