Erika Meitner

Poet Information

Erika MeitnerFollow

About the Poet

Erika Meitner photo

Erika Meitner was born and raised in Queens and Long Island, New York. She attended Dartmouth College (for a BA in Creative Writing and Literature), Hebrew University on a Reynolds Scholarship, 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. She has received additional 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 is currently a 2022 Virginia Commission for the Arts Fellow. Her poems have been anthologized widely, and have appeared in publications including The New Yorker, Poetry, Orion, The New York Times Magazine, The Southern Review, The Believer, The Kenyon Review, The New Republic, Ploughshares, and APR. She also creates larger-scale documentary photo/text projects on urban environments, including “This is Not a Requiem for Detroit,” “RNC CLE,” and "Reimagining Magic City," for Virginia Quarterly Review.

Meitner is the author of six books of poems. Her first book, Inventory at the All-Night Drugstore, won the 2002 Robert Dana-Anhinga Prize for Poetry, and was published in 2003 by Anhinga Press. Her second book, Ideal Cities, was selected by Paul Guest as a winner of the 2009 National Poetry Series competition, and was published in 2010 by HarperCollins. Her third collection, Makeshift Instructions for Vigilant Girls, was published by Anhinga Press in 2011. Her fourth collection of poems, Copia, was published by BOA Editions in 2014 as part of their American Poets Continuum Series, and her fifth collection, Holy Moly Carry Me, was also published by BOA Editions in September 2018. Holy Moly Carry Me is the winner of the 2018 National Jewish Book Award in poetry, and a finalist for the 2018 National Book Critics Circle award in poetry, as well as the Library of Virginia Award in Poetry. Her sixth book of poems, Useful Junk, was published by BOA Editions in 2022.

Meitner is a first-generation American: her father is from Haifa, Israel; her mother was born in a refugee camp in Stuttgart, Germany, which is where her maternal grandparents settled after surviving Auschwitz, Ravensbruck, and Mauthausen concentration camps. Meitner is currently a Professor of English at Virginia Tech, where she's taught since 2007.

From the author's website


West Central

Virginia City or County Affiliation

Blacksburg, VA

Years of Residence in Virginia


Current City/State of Residence

Blacksburg, VA





Year of Birth



Judaism, Social justice, Documentary, Feminism

Published Works or Performances

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

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Erika Meitner