Jill Bialosky Author Photo By Beowulf Sheehan

Poet, Novelist, Essayist, Editor

Jill Bialosky's newest volume of poetry Asylum: A Personal, Historical, Natural Inquiry in 103 Lyric Sections, was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. She is the author of five acclaimed collections of poetry, three critically acclaimed novels, including The Prize and most recently, The Deceptions and a two memoirs, Poetry Will Save Your Life and New York Times bestselling memoir History of a Suicide: My Sister’s Unfinished Life. Her poems and essays have appeared in The New YorkerThe Atlantic MonthlyHarper’sO MagazineThe Kenyon ReviewHarvard ReviewParis Review and Best American Poetry among others. She co-edited with Helen Schulman the anthology, Wanting a Child. She is an Executive Editor and Vice President at W. W. Norton & Company. In 2014 she was honored by the Poetry Society of America for her distinguished contribution to poetry.

The Deceptions

Something terrible has happened and I don’t know what to do. An unnamed narrator’s life is unraveling. Her only child has left home, and her twenty-year marriage is strained. Anticipation about her soon-to-be-released book of poetry looms. She seeks answers to the paradoxes of love, desire, and parenthood among the Greek and Roman gods at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. As she passes her days teaching at a boys’ prep school, spending her off-hours sequestered in the museum’s austere galleries, she is haunted by memories of a yearlong friendship with a colleague, a fellow poet struggling with his craft. As secret betrayals and deceptions come to light and rage threatens to overwhelm her, the pantheon of gods assume remarkably vivid lives of their own, forcing her to choose between reality and myth in an effort to free herself from the patriarchal constraints of the past and embrace a new vision for her future.

The Deceptions is a page-turning and seductively told exploration of female sexuality and ambition as well as a human drama that dares to test the stories we tell ourselves. It is also a brilliant investigation of a life caught between the dueling magnetic poles of privacy and its appropriation in art and literature. Celebrated poet, memoirist, and novelist Jill Bialosky has reached new and daring heights in her boldest work yet.

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Asylum

“Jill Bialosky’s fifth collection, Asylum: A Personal, Historical, Natural Inquiry in 103 Lyric Sections, is also an exploration of personal loss and its aftermath — in this case, the poet's sister’s suicide —through widening circles of allusion, reference, and metaphor. {with} lyrical empathy and deep intelligence the poet brings to every page.”
Washington Independent Review of Books

Poetry Will Save Your Life: A Memoir

“A lovely hybrid that blends [Bialosky’s] coming-of-age story with engaging literary analysis. … Adults and mature teens will find much to love in this book, which demonstrates how poems can become an integral part of life. It also suggests, on every page, the wisdom and deep compassion that make [Bialosky’s book] a tremendous asset both to readers and other writers.”
The Washington Post

The Prize

“The Prize is a subtle, incisive, and erotically charged exploration of the dark crossroad where art, money, and obsession converge. Jill Bialosky has written a true and dangerous novel.”
—John Banville, author of The Sea

The Players

The strongest collection yet from this widely praised poet is about the central players in our lives, our relationships over time — between mother and son, mother and daughter-and how one generation of relationships informs and shapes the next.

History of a Suicide: My Sister’s Unfinished Life

New York Times Bestseller

“Extraordinarily useful... a source of solace and understanding. [Bialosky’s] hand is always skillful, as attentive to the rhythms of storytelling as to conveying emotion.”
—Time

“Valiant and eloquent... Bialosky’s thoughtful book elucidates the complexity of suicide.”
Washington Post Book World

Intruder

Finalist in the 
2009 Paterson Poetry Prize.

“These poems show both a storyteller’s gift for implicit narrative and a sophisticate’s sense of other arts ... Bialosky’s book ends up undeniably personal, confirming her in her most serious of all her vocations: the setting down of a tumultuous inner life into clear, shared words.”
Publishers Weekly

The Life Room

“[A] suspenseful tale of Eleanor's relationship with the magazine hack. Through him, Bialosky explores the idea that needy people are often the most powerful and destabilizing. We’re not sure why Eleanor wants to have an affair with him, but we believe she does — and with a kind of reckless illogic that would do Tolstoy proud.”
New York Times Book Review

House Under Snow

“This artful first novel by the poet and editor Jill Bialosky is a quiet stepsister to Rick Moody's The Ice Storm.”
— New York Times Book Review

“An elegiac novel of a father's sudden death and its lingering effect on the family he leaves behind.”
— The Washington Post

Subterranean

Finalist for the James Laughlin Prize from the Academy of American Poets.

Jill Bialosky follows her acclaimed debut collection, The End of Desire, with this powerful sequence of poems that probes the subterranean depths of eros. Gerald Stern has called Bialosky “the poet of the secret garden, the place, at once, of grace and sadness,” and here she enters that garden again, blending the classical with the contemporary in bold considerations of desire, fertility, virginity, and childbirth.

The End of Desire

Jill Bialosky's first collection of poems is an exceptional one—moving, very accomplished, marked by an unflinching realism and a sharply observant eye combined with great technical skill. Childhood and adolescence shattered by a father's death and the struggles of a mother to raise her daughters are among its concerns. The poems have a dignity and magic that are quite distinctive.