Erika Meitner

b. 1975

Current City, State, Country

Madison, Wisconsin, USA

Birth City, State, Country

Queens, New York, USA


Erika Meitner is the author of six books of poems, including Ideal Cities (HarperCollins, 2010), which was a 2009 National Poetry series winner; Copia (BOA Editions, 2014); and Holy Moly Carry Me (BOA Editions, 2018), which won the 2018 National Jewish Book Award in Poetry, and was a finalist for the Library of Virginia Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry. Her newest book, Useful Junk, was published by BOA Editions in 2022.

Meitner’s poems have been anthologized widely, and have appeared in publications including The New YorkerVirginia Quarterly ReviewThe New York Times MagazineThe New RepublicPoetry, Orion, Ploughshares, Oxford American, The Believer, and elsewhere. She also creates larger-scale documentary photo/text projects on urban environments, with photographers. These include “This is Not a Requiem for Detroit” and “RNC CLE” for Virginia Quarterly Review with Ryan Spencer Reed, and an ongoing project on Miami and sea-level rise with Anna Maria Barry-Jester, part of which was featured as the cover story in the Summer 2021 issue of VQR (“Reimagining Magic City“).

Other honors include fellowships from MacDowell, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Hermitage Artist Retreat, Blue Mountain Center, and Bethany Arts Community. She was also the 2015 US-UK Fulbright Distinguished Scholar in Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queen’s University Belfast, and a 2022 Virginia Commission for the Arts Fellow.

Meitner was born and raised in Queens and Long Island, New York. She attended Dartmouth College (for an AB in Creative Writing and English Literature), Hebrew University on a Dartmouth Reynolds Fellowship, and the University of Virginia, where she received her MFA in Creative Writing as a Henry Hoyns Fellow, and her MA in Religious Studies as a Morgenstern Fellow in Jewish Studies. Meitner is a first-generation American: her father is from Haifa, which is where her paternal grandparents fled after the German invasion of Czechoslovakia; her mother was born in a refugee camp in Stuttgart, Germany, which is where her maternal grandparents settled after surviving Auschwitz, Ravensbrück, and Mauthausen concentration camps.

Meitner is currently a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she also directs the MFA program in creative writing.

Published Works

Useful Junk, poems (BOA Editions, 2022).
Holy Moly Carry Me, poems (BOA Editions, 2018).
Copia, poems (BOA Editions, 2014).
Makeshift Instructions for Vigilant Girls, poems (Anhinga Press, 2011).
Ideal Cities, poems (Harper Perennial, 2010).
Inventory at the All-Night Drugstore, poems (Anhinga Press, 2003).

Author Site

Links to Sample Works

Video Reading

Current Title

Professor of English, University of Wisconsin-Madison


AB, Dartmouth College (1996)
MFA, University of Virginia (2001) / Creative Writing
MA, University of Virginia (2013) / Religious Studies

Subject Matter