Lee Upton

Poet, Fiction Writer, Creative Nonfiction Writer

Easton, PA 18042

Author's Bio

Lee Upton is the author of fourteen books, including Visitations: Stories  (Yellow Shoe Fiction Series),  Bottle the Bottles the Bottles the Bottles (CSU Poetry Center), The Tao of Humiliation: Stories (BOA), and Swallowing the Sea: On Writing & Ambition Boredom Purity & Secrecy (Tupelo). She is also the author of an award-winning novella, The Guide to the Flying Island; five additional books of poetry and four books of literary criticism. Her fourth book of literary criticism, Defensive Measures, a study of how poets claim distinctive voices, was published by Bucknell University Press. Her collection of stories, The Tao of Humiliation, received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Library Journal as well as gratifyingly positive reviews from The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist. Kirkus selected the collection for their listing of “The Best Books of 2014,” one of eleven collections in the subcategory of short stories that included collections by a slate of international authors, among them Alice Munro, Paul Theroux, Tove Jansson, and Hilary Mantel. Visitations also received the Kirkus star and was listed as among "the best of the indies 2017" by Kirkus.  Her poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies and in three editions of The Best American Poetry as well as in The New Yorker, The New Republic, American Poetry Review, The Atlantic, Harvard Review, Dublin Poetry Review, New England Review, Poetry, and other magazines. More than six dozen of her short stories have been published, appearing in such journals as World Literature Today,  Hopkins Review, Antioch Review, Ecotone, Epoch, Short Fiction (England), Redivider, Northwest Review, Shenandoah, Bennington Review, and Ascent. Her stories have twice been listed among "distinguished stories" in Best American Short Stories. She has published over fifty articles and essays about literature. She publishes aphorisms as well, and has had the good fortune to collaborate with visual artists on artist books and other media. She wrote the libretto for The Mask of Edgar Allan Poe (composer: Kirk O'Riordan). Her awards include the Open Book Award, the Lyric Poetry Award and The Writer/Emily Dickinson Award from the Poetry Society of America; the Pushcart Prize; the National Poetry Series Award; the Georgia Contemporary Poetry Series Award; the BOA Short Fiction Award; the ForeWord Review Book of the Year Award for Swallowing the Sea in the category of books about writing; and the Mary Louise VanArtsdalen Prize for Scholarship, the Marquis Teaching Award, the Jones Award, and the Jones Faculty Lecture Award at Lafayette College, where she is the emerita Francis A. March Professor of English and Writer-in-Residence.

Literary agent: 
BJ Robbins Literary Agency

Publications & Prizes

Creative Nonfiction

Swallowing the Sea (Tupelo Press, 2012)
Defensive Measures (Bucknell University Press, 2005)


Visitations: Stories (Louisiana State University Press, 2017)


Bottle the Bottles the Bottles the Bottles (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2015)
Civilian Histories (University of Georgia Press, 2000)
Journals: ,
Atlantic Monthly
New Republic
New Yorker

More Information

Gives readings: 
Travels for readings: 
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Last update: Jun 03, 2021