Dorothea Lasky

I think that if you live your life drawn to your creative instincts, there is a connection in everything that you do. When people tell me they only have one talent or one expertise, I never believe them. When you think of the new, the world becomes your never-ending masterpiece.

Bagley wright lecturer on poetry

pushcart prize




Don’t look for daintiness nor defeatism in Lasky’s weighty lines but rather fierce, quick-witted associations that make space for one woman’s power to name her world.
— Major Jackson
There are many such moments in Milk where the poet asserts her authority to complicate our understanding of metaphor’s logic and the symbolic image’s reach via rapid direct address, inexplicable numbers, the power of color. For Lasky, a poet whose perpetual present is supplied by her faith in the imagination, a poem is less obfuscated and more dimensionalized. Lasky creates a dimensionality that refuses to be flattened out by readers who insist on undisturbed rational lines of thought. She intends to perturb, disturb, disrupt, and awaken.
Boston Review

Dorothea Lasky is the author of five full-length collections of poetry: Milk (Wave Books, 2018), Rome (Liveright/W.W. Norton, 2014), Thunderbird (Wave Books, 2012), Black Life (Wave Books, 2010), and AWE (Wave Books, 2007). Her forthcoming essay collection, Animal, will be published by Wave Books in October, 2019. She is also the author of several chapbooks, including: Snakes (Tungsten Press, 2017), Thing (Floating Wolf Quarterly, 2012), Matter: A Picturebook (Argos Books, 2012), The Blue Teratorn (Yes Yes Books, 2012), Poetry is Not a Project (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2010), Tourmaline (Transmission Press, 2008), The Hatmaker’s Wife (2006), Art (H_NGM_N Press, 2005), and Alphabets and Portraits (Anchorite Press, 2004).

Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Gulf Coast, POETRY, The New Yorker, Tin House, and The Paris Review, among other places. She is the co-editor of Open the Door: How to Excite Young People About Poetry (McSweeney's, 2013) and was a 2013 Bagley Wright Lecturer on Poetry.

Along with Alex Dimitrov, she is one half of the Astro Poets, whose book, Astro Poets: Your Guides to the Zodiac, will be published by Flatiron Books in October, 2019.

In an interview in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Lasky was asked about the poems in Milk, their lack of punctuation and how the poems don’t concern themselves explicitly with making sense. “I don’t think things are contextless, obviously,” Lasky notes,  “Everything is so context-rich, but at the same time, I don’t think poems should explain themselves. I think writing poems is about making sure they have as much integrity within them as they possibly can, so that if you dropped your poem into outer space, the person who finds it will have a real experience.”

Passionate about teaching, she is always looking for more opportunities to do research on creativity and education. She holds a doctorate in creativity and education from the University of Pennsylvania, is a graduate of the MFA program for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and has been educated at Harvard University and Washington University. She has taught poetry at New York University, Wesleyan University, and Bennington College. Born in St. Louis, she is currently an Assistant Professor of Poetry at Columbia University's School of the Arts and director of the Undergraduate Creative Writing Program. She lives in New York City.



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