Lia Purpura (born February 22, 1964, Mineola, New York) is an American poet, writer and educator. She is the author of three collections of poems (King Baby, Stone Sky Lifting, The Brighter the Veil), three collections of essays (Rough Likeness, On Looking, and Increase) and one collection of translations (Poems of Grzegorz Musial: Berliner Tagebuch and Taste of Ash). Her poems and essays appear in AGNI, The Antioch Review, DoubleTake, FIELD, The Georgia Review, The Iowa Review, Orion Magazine, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Parnassus: Poetry in Review, Ploughshares. Southern Review, and many other magazines.
A graduate of Oberlin College and the Iowa Writers' Workshop where she was a Teaching/Writing Fellow in Poetry, Lia Purpura is currently Writer-in-Residence at University of Maryland, Baltimore County in Baltimore, Maryland. She is also on the faculty of the Rainier Writing Workshop Low-Residency MFA Program in Tacoma, Washington. Recent visiting appointments include visiting faculty at the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the Bedell Visiting Writer at the University of Iowa's MFA Program in Nonfiction; Coal Royalty Visiting Professor at the University of Alabama's MFA Program; Reader/Lecturer at the Bennington Writing Program, and Visiting Writer at the Warren and Patricia Benson Forum on Creativity at Eastman School of Music. She lives in Baltimore with her husband, conductor Jed Gaylin, and their son.
In 2012, Lia Purpura was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Increase (essays, University of Georgia Press, 2000) won the Associated Writing Programs Award in Creative Nonfiction.
Stone Sky Lifting (poems, Ohio State University Press, 2000) won the OSU Press/The Journal Award.
The Brighter the Veil (poems, Orchises Press, 1996) won the Towson University Prize in Literature.
Her recent essays "On Coming Back as a Buzzard", "Glaciology" and "The Lustres" were awarded Pushcart Prizes in 2011, 2009 and 2007, and other essays were named "Notable Essays" in Best American Essays, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2009.
Lia Purpura is also the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Fulbright Award Fellowship (translation, Warsaw, Poland), multiple residences at the MacDowell Colony, and a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council.
- Rough Likeness (Essays) (Sarabande Books, 2011)
- King Baby (Poems) (Alice James Books, 2008)
- On Looking (Essays) (Sarabande Books, 2006)
- Increase (Essays) (University of Georgia Press, 2000)
- Stone Sky Lifting (Poems) (Ohio State University Press, 2000)
- The Brighter the Veil (Poems) (Orchises Press, 1996)
- Poems of Grzegorz Musial: Berliner Tagebuch and Taste of Ash (Translation) (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1998)
Awards and honors
- 2012: Guggenheim Fellowship in General Nonfiction
- 2009: Towson University Prize in Literature
- 2007: Beatrice Hawley Award
- 2004: NEA Literature Fellowship in Prose
- 2000: Associated Writing Programs Award in Creative Nonfiction
- 2000: Ohio State University Press/The Journal Award
- AGNI Online: Author Lia Purpura
- Ploughshares > Authors & Articles > Lia Purpura
- http://www.alicejamesbooks.org/winners.html Alice James Books Website > Beatrice Hawley Award Winners]
- Sarabande Books
- AGNI Online: Glaciology Essay
- Towson University Website > Newsroom
- 2004 Grant Awards - Literature Fellowships (Prose)
- The AWP Award for Creative Nonfiction > List of Winners
- The Ohio State University Press > Ohio State University Press/The Journal Award
- NEA Writer's Corner: Lia Purpura
- Audio: Wired for Books > Lia Purpura
- Interview with Lia Purpura by Margaret MacInnis
- Interviews > Smartish Pace > An Interview with Lia Purpura > by Laura Klebanow
- Guggenheim Fellowship
- Bookslut: Interview by Noah Charney
- When Beauty Stretches: Apercu Quarterly
- The Journal: Ohio State University Interview
- WYPR Maryland Morning. Interview with Tom Hall
- WYPR Maryland Morning : Rough Likeness
- Sarabande Books: "Author Speaks"