Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Elaine Equi  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Poetry

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1953 in Oak Park, IL

-- Elaine Equi on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Equi was born in Oak Park, IL.

Biographical and Professional Information

Equi was born in Oak Park, Illinois and raised in Chicago and its outlying suburbs. She graduated from Columbia College and went on to teach a poetry workshop there for several years. Along with her husband, poet Jerome Sala, she helped create a lively performance poetry scene. In 1988, they moved to New York City. She teaches at New York University, and in the MFA Programs at The New School and The City College of New York. Equi's poems have appeared in ''The New Yorker'', ''American Poetry Review'', and numerous volumes of ''The Best American Poetry''. In 2007 she edited a special section for Jacket Magazine: ''The Holiday Album: Greeting Card Poems For All Occasions''.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

ISBN: 1566890780

Coffee House Press. 1998

Synthesizing twenty years of influencess, Equi constructs a collage of voices--undoubtedly American, exquisitely her own.

Surface Tension
ISBN: 0918273544

Coffee House Press. 1989

"Equi is that rarity--someone with natural comic talent who is also capable of delicacy and lyricism."--David Lehman, Newsday

Decoy (Sun and Moon Classics; 44)
ISBN: 1566890268

Coffee House Press. 1994

Subversive and witty, Equi adeptly slips around corners and peers through keyholes, ultimately proving that the best poems take us by surprise. "Exceedingly delicate work, infused with a sly and bawdy humor.... leaves the reader eager for more.... one of the most enjoyable and rewarding books of poetry."--The Nation

The Cloud of Knowable Things
ISBN: 1566891426

Coffee House Press. 2003

"Friend to objects, saints and dead celebrities alike, Elaine Equi is the real McCoy: a keeper of the sacred flame of language-joy. Her work re-alerts us to our earliest love of words as toys, jewels, confections. In doing so she juices up our thinking. What’s better than writing that delights as it sharpens the mind? You’ve heard of ‘smart drinks’ or ‘smart drugs,’ said to chemically boost intellect? These are truly smart poems."—Amy Gerstler, L.A. Weekly

Elaine Equi is the author of many books, including Voice-Over, which won the San Francisco State Poetry Award. Widely anthologized, her poems appear in Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology and The Best American Poetry for the years 1989, 1995, and 2002. She lives in New York City.

Ripple Effect: New and Selected Poems
ISBN: 1566891973

Coffee House Press. 2007

“Elaine Equi’s narrow lines are like the rungs of a ladder that one ascends while one is descending them. It’s a motion like that in Wang Wei’s lines, ‘Stars / float up / toward dawn,’ which she quotes in her cento, ‘Wang Wei’s Moon.’ Or, as she beautifully puts it, ‘Discreetly a breeze enters the room.’”—John Ashbery

Ripple Effect showcases thirty years of Elaine Equi’s investigations into our cultural obsessions. Vivid, savvy, and accessible, her poems can transform almost anything—a list, a diary entry, advertising speak—into sophisticated, germane elixirs of pop culture and high art. Widely published, these poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, and numerous volumes of The Best American Poetry.

Click and Clone
ISBN: 1566892570

Coffee House Press. 2011

"Equi seems to know all our foibles and, instead of edging toward the door, reports the latest developments with precise, loving equanimity. Her voice is unique, poised, witty, intimate, and somehow interstellar. It's as if she's visiting from a future where we all appear transparent. Click and Clone is an electrified pleasure field."—Aram Saroyan

"Spick and span, cut and dry, shake and bake, and now Elaine Equi introduces Click and Clone. These poetically altered texts punch holes into the multiverses of pop and splendor, short and longing, prose and dreams. Equi says that art can no longer imitate life, it just needs to keep up. As they might say at the racetrack, she leads by a verse."—Charles Bernstein

Click and Clone explores American life as it has been altered by our technological revolution. Elaine Equi's style is sophisticated, yet always accessible and truly democratic in approach. Whether she is writing about art, pop culture, consumerism, or reality TV, Equi does so with clarity and wit.

specs . . .
dots . . .
bytes . . .
atoms . . .
scraps . . .
snippets . . .
tweets . . .

Some are whole
as seeds contain a whole

galaxy of fruit
and vegetable planets
within them.

Elaine Equi's last book Ripple Effect was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award and on the short list for Canada's Griffin Poetry Prize. She lives in New York.

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (No)