Cate Marvin's first book, World's Tallest Disaster, was chosen by Robert Pinksy for the 2000 Kathryn A. Morton Prize and published by Sarabande Books in 2001. In 2002, she received the Kate Tufts Discovery Prize. Her poems have appeared inThe New England Review, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, Fence,The Paris Review, The Cincinnati Review, Slate, Verse, Boston Review, and Ninth Letter. She is co-editor with poet Michael Dumanis of the anthology Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century (Sarabande Books, 2006). Her second book of poems, Fragment of the Head of a Queen, was published by Sarabande in August 2007. A recent Whiting Award recipient and 2007 NYFA Gregory Millard Fellow, she teaches poetry writing in Lesley University's Low-Residency M.F.A. Program and is an associate professor in creative writing at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York. She is co-founder and co-director with poet Erin Belieu of WILLA (Women in Letters and Literary Arts).
Erin Belieu, cofounder of WILLA, is the author of three poetry collections, all from Copper Canyon Press, including Infanta, One Above & One Below and Black Box. She is also the coeditor of The Extraordinary Tide, an anthology published by Columbia University Press, featuring the work of contemporary American women poets. Belieu is presently the the director of The Creative Writing Program at Florida State University.
Last August, Erin Belieu and I embarked on the somewhat daunting and incredibly exciting project of creating an organization that embraces the literature across genres currently being written by women. Women in Letter and Literary Arts (WILLA) is still in a nascent stage, but we’ve gathered tremendous support for our venture, along with a heavy-hitting and tremendously canny group of female writers to help us launch our effort.
When John Hoppenthaler approached us about editing a feature for Connotation Press, Erin and I agreed that this was an opportunity for us to put into action that which we’ve so often discussed as one of primary motivations for creating WILLA: that is, the necessity of women mentoring women. To that end, we have gathered here a group of emerging poets, all female with the single exception of one transgender writer, with whom we’ve had the great fortune to work as mentors over the past few years. All of the poets we’re showcasing here have been, respectively, our writing students. We present them to you with not a little pride, and with joy. Each of these poets has the ability to turn the ear, to redefine what poetry can be, to reclaim the poetic subject and tradition, and to wow the reader. For Erin and I as teachers, the writers gathered here have also been gift-givers, as they in their capacity as student have shared with us the endlessly new and inventive forms poetry can take. The kind of mentorship that we hope to espouse through WILLA is reciprocal: in short, poets of all ages and levels of experience can learn from one another through the dialogue of poetry.
WILLA’s mission is to create conversations about women’s writing: the shapes it takes, and the manner in which it is received by the larger culture. It makes perfect sense to us, then, that we present a conversation via a group of poems. We are grateful to these poets for putting us in dialogue with their experiences, traditions, and exhilarating ambitions.