Molly Peacock

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Molly Peacock (born Buffalo, New York 1947) is an American-Canadian poet, essayist, biographer and speaker, whose multi-genre literary life also includes memoir, short fiction, and a one-woman show.


Peacock's works include The Paper Garden, a biography of Mary Delany, an 18th-century gentlewoman and a meditation on late-life creativity. The Paper Garden was selected as a book of the year by The Economist, which said of the work, "Like flowers built of a millefeuille of paper, Ms Peacock builds a life out of layers of metaphor."[1] Her latest book of poems is The Second Blush, love poems from a midlife marriage. She was a Faculty Mentor at the Spalding University Brief Residency MFA Program, 2001-12. Molly Peacock is also the author/performer of a one-woman show in poems, "The Shimmering Verge" produced by Louise Fagan Productions.

She has published six collections of poetry, including Cornucopia: New & Selected Poems. Widely anthologized, her work is included in The Best of the Best American Poetry and The Oxford Book of American Poetry, as well as in leading literary journals such as the Times Literary Supplement, The New Yorker, and The Paris Review.

Peacock is the author of a memoir, Paradise, Piece By Piece. Her essay on Mrs. Delany, "Passion Flowers in Winter", appeared in The Best American Essays. Other pieces appear in O: The Oprah Magazine, Elle, House & Garden, and New York Magazine. She is also the editor of a collection of creative non-fiction, Private I: Privacy in a Public World.

As President of the Poetry Society of America, Molly Peacock was one of the creators of the Poetry in Motion program; coediting Poetry In Motion: One Hundred Poems From the Subways and Buses. She is also the Series Editor of The Best Canadian Poetry in English (Tightrope Books), as well as a Contributing Editor of the Literary Review of Canada.

Currently, Peacock lives in downtown Toronto with her husband, Michael Groden. She keeps in touch with New York City, her former home, by teaching at the 92nd Street Y every February and March.





Edited anthologies[edit]

  • Poetry in Motion: 100 Poems from the Buses and Subways (co-edited with Elise Paschen and Neil Neches). New York: Norton, 1996. ISBN 9780393314588
  • The Private I: Privacy in a Public World. Saint Paul: Graywolf P, 2001. ISBN 9781555973131
  • The Best Canadian Poetry in English (each annual volume co-edited with a different Guest Editor). Toronto: Tightrope Books, 2008— .

Selected essays[edit]

  • "What the Mockingbird Said." Conversant Essays: Contemporary Poets on Poetry. Ed. James McCorkle. Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1990. 343-47.
  • "One Green, One Blue: One Point about Formal Verse Writing and Another About Women Writing Formal Verse." A Formal Feeling Comes: Poems in Form by Contemporary Women. Ed. Annie Finch. Ashland, OR: Story Line P, 1994.
  • "The Poet As Hybrid Memoirist." The Writer 112.2 (February 1999): 20-22.
  • "From Gilded Cage to Rib Cage." After New Formalism: Poets on Form, Narrative, and Tradition. Ed. Annie Finch. Ashland, OR: Story Line P, 1999. 70-78.
  • "Introduction." The Private I: Privacy in a Public World. vii-ix.
  • "Sweet Uses of Adversity." The Private I: Privacy in a Public World. 80-94.
  • "Rhyme and the Line." A Broken Thing: Poets on the Line. Eds. Emily Rosko and Anton Vander Zee. Iowa City: U of Iowa P, 2011. 176-77.
  • "A Calendar of Affections." Arc Poetry Magazine 65 (2011): 166-71.
  • "New Formalism at the Millenium." Green Mountains Review 25.1 (2012): 268-72.


Peacock has received recognition from the Leon Levy Center for Biography (CUNY), Danforth Foundation, Ingram Merrill Foundation, Woodrow Wilson Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and New York State Council on the Arts. She was President of the Poetry Society of America from 1989 to 1995, and again from 1999 to 2001. She served as Poet in Residence at the American Poets' Corner, Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine from 2000 to 2005. Peacock was also Regents' Fellow at University of California, Riverside and Poet in Residence at Bucknell University and the University of Western Ontario.

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