Gregory Orr (poet)

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Gregory Orr (born 1947 in Albany, New York, United States) is an American poet. He received a B.A. degree from Antioch College and an M.F.A. from Columbia University. He is a professor of English at the University of Virginia where he founded the MFA Program in Writing in 1975, and served from 1978 to 2003 as Poetry Editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review. He is also a columnist and editor of the magazine, Sacred Bearings: A Journal for Survivors. He lives with his wife, the painter Trisha Orr, and their two daughters in Charlottesville, Virginia.[1]

Featured on National Public Radio’s This I Believe, Orr has been the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, and of an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.[2]

Orr is the author of eleven collections of poetry, including City of Salt (1995) which was a finalist for the LA Times Poetry Prize. He is also the author of a memoir, The Blessing (2002), which was chosen by Publishers Weekly as one of the fifty best non-fiction books of the year, and three books of essays.

In reviewing Concerning the Book That Is the Body of the Beloved (Copper Canyon Press, 2005),[3] Ted Genoways writes in the Virginia Quarterly Review: “Sure, the trappings of modern life appear at the edges of these poems, but their focus is so unwaveringly aimed toward the transcendent—not God, but the beloved—that we seem to slip into a less cluttered time. It’s an experience usually reserved for reading the ancients, and clearly that was partly Orr’s inspiration.” In reviewing How Beautiful the Beloved (Copper Canyon Press, 2009)[4] in Bookslut,[5] Sean Patrick Hill writes that Orr’s “poems themselves are as Frost said they must be: momentary stays against confusion.”

Gregory Orr wrote an opinion piece in the Sunday Magazine of the New York Times on August 29, 2014 [6] about accidentally killing his brother in a hunting accident in response to the fatal shooting with an Uzi machine gun of a gun instructor by a 9 year old in Arizona.

Selected works[edit]


  • ’’Burning the Empty Nests’’ (Harper & Row, 1973)
  • "Gathering the Bones Together" (Harper & Row, 1975)
  • "The Red House" (Harper & Row, 1980)
  • ’’We Must Make a Kingdom of It’’ (Wesleyan University Press, 1986)
  • ’’New and Selected Poems’’ (Wesleyan University Press, 1988)
  • ’’City of Salt’’ (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1995)
  • ’’Orpheus & Eurydice’’ (Copper Canyon Press, 2001)
  • ’’The Caged Owl: New and Selected Poems’’ (Copper Canyon Press, 2002)
  • ’’Concerning the Book That Is the Body of the Beloved’’ (Copper Canyon Press, 2005)
  • ’’How Beautiful the Beloved’’ (Copper Canyon Press, 2009)
  • "River Inside the River" (W.W. Norton & Company, 2013)


  • ’’Stanley Kunitz: An Introduction to Poetry’’ (Columbia University Press, 1985)
  • ’’Richer Entanglements: Essays and Notes on Poetry and Poems’’ (University of Michigan Press, 1993)
  • ’’Poets Teaching Poets: Self and the World’’ (University of Michigan Press, 1996) (edited by Voigt and Orr)
  • ’’Poetry as Survival’’ (University of Georgia Press, 2002)


  • ’’The Blessing’’ (Council Oak Books, 2002)


  1. ^ "Gregory Orr- - Poetry, Poems, Bios & More". Retrieved 2014-02-12. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ "Concerning the Book That Is the Beloved by Gregory Orr". Copper Canyon Press. Retrieved 2014-02-12. 
  4. ^ "How Beautiful the Beloved by Gregory Orr". Copper Canyon Press. Retrieved 2014-02-12. 
  5. ^ Sean Patrick Hill. "How Beautiful the Beloved by Gregory Orr". Bookslut. Retrieved 2014-02-12. 
  6. ^ "When a Child Kills, Reflections on a Shooting Range Death, From One Who Knows". 2014-08-29.