Poet and criminal defense attorney Vanessa Place earned a BA at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, an MFA at Antioch University, and a JD at Boston University.
In her conceptual poetry, Place explores the impact of context and expectation. In a 2010 interview for Lemon Hound, Place has quoted Marcel Duchamp, “It’s not what you see that is art, art is the gap.” In a 2013 Tarpaulin Sky interview with Eireene Nealand, Place stated, “The law, like poetry, engages in grossly overt fashion with the transformation of the real into the symbolic via a kind of Eucharistic metamorphosis. Worked, like some might argue the spiritus sanctus works, by way of words. Words, as many have noted, never quite fit. But they will do.”
Place is the author of Dies: A Sentence (2005), a novel-in-verse written as a single 117-page sentence; La Medusa (2008); the Tragodía trilogy, composed of legal documents; and Boycott (2013). She coauthored Notes on Conceptualisms (2009) with Robert Fitterman. She is also the author of the legal analysis The Guilt Project: Rape, Morality, and Law (2010). Place coedited I’ll Drown My Book: Conceptual Writing by Women with Caroline Bergvall, Laynie Browne, and Teresa Carmody and translated Frank Smith’s Guantanamo (2013).
Place codirects Les Figues Press and divides her time between Los Angeles and New York City.