Nebraska Center for Writers

Photo Credit: Yvonne Klocek Poet Leslie Adrienne Miller is the author of several collections, including The Resurrection Trade (Graywolf, 2007), Eat Quite Everything You See (Graywolf 2002), Yesterday Had a Man In It (Carnegie Mellon 1998), Ungodliness (Carnegie Mellon 1994), and Staying Up for Love (Carnegie Mellon 1990). Among her many prizes and awards are the Loft McKnight Award of Distinction, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry, the PEN Southwest Discovery Award, two Writers at Work Fellowships, and a Pushcart Prize. She has also held fellowships and residencies in Switzerland, France, Scotland, Germany, and Indonesia. Her poems have appeared in Georgia Review, American Poetry Review, New England Review, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. She holds degrees in creative writing and literature from Stephens College, the University of Missouri, the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop and the University of Houston. She teaches at the University of St Thomas in St Paul, Minnesota.

Review Excerpts

The Resurrection Trade
Graywolf Press, 2007
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"The resurrection trade," the business of trafficking in corpses, is an old trade, one that makes possible the art of anatomy and, as poet Leslie Adrienne Miller discovers, the art of her own book. Miller delves into the mysteries of early anatomical studies and medical illustrations and finds there stories of women's lives — sometimes tragic, sometimes comic — as exposed as the drawings themselves. These meticulously researched and rendered poems become powerful testimonies to women's bodies objectified and misunderstood throughout history. Millerís sensuous and harrowing fifth collection brings a new truth to what she calls "the strange collusion of imaginary science and real art." — from the publisher

The sale of corpses for medical, artistic, and other, even less savory purposes is a controlling metaphor for Miller in her sterling fourth collection. ... The subject seems at first macabre, but before our fascinated and appalled gaze, Miller shows us how every body both reveals and conceals its secrets. — Booklist

The fierce, passionate observation and the rich pageantry of Leslie Adrienne Miller's poems have astonished me for twenty years now. Deeply original and constantly compelling, she is a poet as capable of deft portraiture as she is of wise philosophical and cultural reckonings. — David St John

For me The Resurrection Trade is very much like being given a rare choice to have dinner with one of the most interesting conversationalists in the world. These poems are delightfully eclectic, learned and wise, and it is a privilege to have this fine book as guest in the house. — Ted Kooser

Eat Quite Everything You See
Graywolf Press, 2002
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"A book of hungers sated and unsated, a compendium of erotic surprise. The voracious yet airy command of the book's title, its synesthesia of appetite and vision, aptly suggests the sensual world of Miller's sophisticated narratives. At once urgent and urbane, intimate and grand, gravid and luscious, her poems offer delight and sustenance as they illuminate the largest questions. Eat Quite Everything You See is, quite simply, a feast." — Alice Fulton

"Taking a bite out of life is daunting and thrilling, as Miller's sage new poems show. Eat Quite Everything You See follows Miller's steps — in all their imaginative, thoughtful, stumbling elegance — toward an unexpected goal: not marriage, not children, but an intelligently measured inner journey." — Molly Peacock

"The fierce, passionate observation and the rich pageantry of Miller's poems have astonished me for twenty years now. Deeply original and constantly compelling, she is a poet as capable of deft portraiture as she is of wise philosophical and cultural reckonings. Don't miss this remarkable book." — David St John

Yesterday Had a Man In It
Carnegie Mellon UP, 1998
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"Leslie Adrienne Miller's unflinching new book, her best yet, shows her to be a poet of rich abandon, of sensuous longing and headlong desire for the other turned back against the self, with regret, with fury. I am moved by these poems of independence infused with a dark self-knowledge, with a wry wisdom and tough vulnerability, with a hopefulness she cannot forget, will not forego. These poems enlarge experience and engage life." — Edward Hirsch

"This collection reveals a poet at the height of her talents." — Minnesota Literature

"Mature, engaging, valuable poems." — Arkansas Democrat Gazette

Carnegie Mellon UP, 1994
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"The poet has an exceptionally fine gift for recalling how a child feels." — Choice

"Ungodliness, Leslie Adrienne Miller's second collection of poems, is a nearly perfect collection. Not only do the individual poems achieve a balance of form and content, but they work together superbly as a book. Like Wordsworth with his radical departures, Miller ... reinvigorates iambic meter by infusing it with a nervous vitality and then bending it to serve subject matter far removed from the genteel traditions of blank verse. Her territory is the 'ungodliness' of everyday life — the shadow side of human consciousness: the jealousies, resentments, hurts, angers, and wild, often self destructive urges that we normally try to keep hidden. A postmodern romantic, she is fascinated by chaos. But Miller's impulse isn't confessional, still less 'therapeutic.' Her poetry achieves what is arguably the rarest thing in literature — it doesn't merely portray individual consciousness, it embodies it in all its headlong, perverse, and often hilarious guises, in language that is supple, energetic, and at times movingly lyrical." — Minnesota Monthly

"Leslie Adrienne Miller knows extraordinary secrets and tells them with searing clarity — about how love is a necessity, a comfort, an itch and an ache, the nexus where hope and fear and the image of the self and the world come together, or (more often) fail to. These lyrical and witty poems are cunningly made, full of insight and self-knowledge, and since that self is open to unflinching honesty and a kind of vulnerable toughness, it's impossible to read them without confronting ourselves." — Rosellen Brown

Staying Up for Love
Carnegie Mellon UP, 1990
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"Miller knows what she's doing, and the poems evidence her formidable control over her medium." — Virginia Quarterly Review

"Miller's craftsmanship shines in measured form and lyrical rhythms, whether she's brooding the mood of a lover, contemplating childlessness or lamenting the cruelty of a story on the six o'clock news. her voice is delicate, but rooted in the earthiness of her Midwestern upbringing. These are fine — and accessible — poems." — Houston Metropolitan Magazine

Additional Resources

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Nebraska Center for Writers