Lia Purpura

Lia Purpura's collection of lyric essays, Increase, won the 1999 Associated Writing Programs Award in Creative Nonfiction and was published by the University of Georgia Press in October 2000. Her second collection of poems, Stone Sky Lifting, won the 2000 Ohio State University Press/The Journal Award and was published in December 2000. A graduate of Oberlin College and the Iowa Writers' Workshop where she was a Teaching/Writing Fellow, she has published poems, essays, translations and reviews in many magazines, including American Poetry Review, The Antioch Review, Georgia Review, Iowa Review, Parnassus: Poetry in Review and Ploughshares. She is a regular poetry and nonfiction reviewer for Antioch Review.  In 1992, Lia Purpura was granted a Fulbright Fellowship to Poland to translate the work of four contemporary poets. A collection of her translations, Poems of Grzegorz Musial: Berliner Tagebuch and Taste of Ash, was published by Fairleigh Dickinson University Press in 1998. Her first collection of poems, The Brighter the Veil, was published in 1996 by Orchises Press. 

Purpura was awarded a Millay Colony Fellowship, multiple fellowship residencies at The MacDowell Colony, and at Blue Mountain Center. She is the winner of the Visions International Prize in Translation, the Randall Jarrell Prize for poetry given by the North Carolina Writers’ Network and chosen by Mary Oliver, and, for The Brighter the Veil, The Towson University Prize in Literature, given by Towson University in MD in recognition of a literary work published that year by a writer under 40. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize numerous times, including this year.  Recently, she was Poet-in-Residence at The Chautauqua Institute and at The St. Mary’s Poetry Festival, St. Mary’s MD, a featured reader at the Associated Writing Programs Conference in Palm Springs, CA, and a guest reader/lecturer at the First Annual Writers’ Conference at the University of North Carolina. She has served as judge for the AWP Intro Journals Award in Creative Nonfiction, and for the Gertrude Lucille Robinson Award for best undergraduate writing at Ohio State University.  Lia Purpura teaches writing at Loyola College in Baltimore, MD, where she lives with her husband and son.


“Lia Purpura is a poet for whom the great human obligation is to struggle to see this world with clarity—as it’s never been seen before. Purpura is a ‘nature poet,’ but few poets do not fit into that category. This poet discovers ways of learning more about the nature of the inner world from observing the outer, and at the same time she reads the outer from the inner.”—David Citino

“A graceful and penetrating energy abounds in the poems collected in Stone Sky Lifting. Lia Purpura’s poems tread on that thin line between talk and song.”—Bruce Weigl

“Often, these poems make us feel as if we can hear those secret fables being whispered at just the other side of dream. With the delicate discretion of her imagination, Lia Purpura reminds us of our kinship to all things, and of the vital place of human compassion in the shifting kaleidoscope of worldly change.”—David St. John

"Since Joseph was born, this yearning has formed itself, materialized as a desire for a visible, outward sign of attachment," Lia Purpura says in Increase , clearly setting before us the visible, outward signs of the world in which she is made anew by love for a child. This is precise, beautiful writing, made more lovely and urgent by the 'eye of compassion' she praises elsewhere."  --Carol Muske