Lia Purpura

Nonfiction, Poetry

Lia Purpura Profile
  • Biography


Lia Purpura is the author of eight collections of essays, poems, and translations, most recently, Rough Likeness (essays) and It Shouldn’t Have Been Beautiful (poems).  Her honors include a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist, National Endowment for the Arts and Fulbright Fellowships, three Pushcart prizes, the Associated Writing Programs Award in Nonfiction, and the Beatrice Hawley, and Ohio State University Press awards in poetry.  Recent work appears in Agni, Field, The Georgia Review, Orion, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Best American Essays.  She is Writer in Residence at The University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and teaches at writing programs around the country, including, most recently, the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference.  She lives in Baltimore with her family.

Mentor. Workshops and classes in nonfiction and poetry.

Statement: “In any writing workshop, my goal is to help participants figure out how to engage in a practice, and how to live like writers in a daily and sustaining way. The bracing thrill of sensing a real, live temperament / disposition / sensibility on the page is what I long for (and fall for!) as a reader, and so, as a mentor, I look forward to finding those moments in my students’ work, studying them, marveling at them—and then, working to refine or reposition the whole, in whatever way the poem or essay requires, so that each piece is up to its best moments. I hope to remystify the process of writing rather than demystify it. What I mean is this: it’s by engaging with practical, process-oriented habits, and learning techniques and formal gestures, that one becomes receptive enough to trust and catch the unexpected surprises that come along, and to allow mystery (call it the imagination if you like) to freely flourish. I believe in a workshop where risks of all kind are supported and strengthened.”