Current City, State, Country
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Hilda Raz is a distinguished writer, editor, and professor whose work is widely recognized, and her influence can be felt—as a director, award judge, and contributor—in this country’s most prestigious poetry journals and contests. Raz has published eight poetry collections, including Letter From a Place I’ve Never Been: New and Collected Poems, 1986-2020 (University of Nebraska Press, 2021), All Odd and Splendid (2008), and Trans (2001).
As president of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) board in the late eighties, she oversaw the AWP Award Series. She has also been a judge for the National Poetry Series. Prior to her move to New Mexico, she was the editor of the literary journal Prairie Schooner from 1987 to 2010 and is the founding director of the University of Nebraska Press’s annual Prairie Schooner Book Prize Series. In 1993 she was named the first Luschei Professor and Editor in the Department of English at the University of Nebraska where she worked intensively with graduate students in the Ph.D. program. She has been a visiting writer at numerous colleges, including Stanford, the University of Tennessee, Harvard University, Goucher, Middlebury, and the University of Iowa.
Raz has battled breast cancer and she has written poetry that presents the survivor not only as a victim of cancer’s ravages but also as a voyager into new worlds. Her book Divine Honors records in part the progress of Raz’s battle with cancer and the beginnings of her recovery, with the bodily, spiritual, and mental dimensions intertwined. The poems have an air of returning to familiar territory from a radically altered perspective, perhaps because the poet has survived a deadly disease. Some poems refer very directly to the bodily alterations that accompany a mastectomy. One, “Petting the Scar,” gives a sensual and unique vision of the mastectomy scar: “But the scar! / Riverroad, meandering root, stretched coil, wire chord, embroidery in its hoop, mine, my body. / Oh, love!” In “Breast/fever” Raz writes “My new breast is two months old, / gel used in bicycle saddles / for riders on long-distance runs, / stays cold under my skin/ when the old breast is warm.”
After more than two decades living and teaching in Nebraska, Raz retired to Placitas, New Mexico, where she was recruited as a consultant to help revamp the Mary Burritt Christiansen Poetry Series at the University of New Mexico Press (UNMP).
Letter From a Place I’ve Never Been: New and Collected Poems, 1986-2020 (University of Nebraska Press, 2021)
List and Story (Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2020)
What Happens (University of Nebraska Press, 2009)
All Odd and Splendid (Wesleyan University Press, 2008)
Trans (Wesleyan University Press, 2001)
Divine Honors (Wesleyan University Press, 1997)
The Bone Dish (chapbook; State Street Press, 1989)
What Is Good (Thorntree Press, 1988)
What Becomes You; with Aaron Raz Link (University of Nebraska Press, 2007)
Loren Eiseley: Commentary, Biography, and Remembrance (University of Nebraska Press, 2008)
Best of Prairie Schooner: Fiction and Poetry (University of Nebraska Press, 2001)
Best of Prairie Schooner: Personal Essays (University of Nebraska Press, 2000)
Living on the Margins: Women Writers on Breast Cancer (Persea Books, 1999)
The “Prairie Schooner” Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Writing (University of Nebraska Press, 1997)
Links to Sample Works
Boston University, B.A., 1960