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Lucia Maria Perillo (September 30, 1958 – October 16, 2016) was an American poet.[1]

In 2000, Perillo was recognized with a "genius grant" as part of the MacArthur Fellows Program.[2]

Life and careerEdit

Perillo was born in Manhattan on September 30, 1958[3] and grew up in Irvington, in the suburbs of New York City in the 1960s.[4] She graduated from McGill University in Montreal in 1979 with a major in wildlife management, and subsequently worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. She completed her M.A. in English at Syracuse University, while working seasonally at Mount Rainier National Park, and moved to Olympia, Washington in 1987, where she taught at Saint Martin's College. For most of the 1990s, Perillo taught in the creative writing program at Southern Illinois University.[5]

Her work has appeared in many magazines such as The New Yorker,[6] The Atlantic and The Kenyon Review[7] among others. A traditional poet of mostly free-verse personal reflection, she has written extensively about living with multiple sclerosis in her poems and essays.[8] On the Spectrum of Possible Deaths[9] is her most recent book of poetry (Copper Canyon Press, 2012). In 2012 she also published a collection of short fiction, Happiness is a Chemical in the Brain, which was shortlisted for the 2013 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize. She died on October 16, 2016 in Olympia, Washington, aged 58.[4][10]




  • Dangerous life. Northeastern University Press. 1989.
  • The Body Mutinies. Purdue University Press. 1996. ISBN 978-1-55753-083-7.
  • The Oldest Map with the Name America: New and Selected Poems. Random House. 1999. ISBN 978-0-375-50160-9.
  • Luck is luck: poems. Random House, Inc. 2005. ISBN 9781400063239.
  • Inseminating the Elephant. Copper Canyon Press. 2009. ISBN 978-1-55659-291-1.
  • On the Spectrum of Possible Deaths. Copper Canyon Press. 2012. ISBN 978-1-55659-397-0.
  • Time Will Clean the Carcass Bones. Copper Canyon Press. 2016. ISBN 978-1-55659-473-1
List of poems
Title Year First published Reprinted/collected
Blacktail 2014 "Blacktail". The New Yorker. 90 (24): 33. August 25, 2014.


  • I've Heard the Vultures Singing. Trinity University Press. 2007. ISBN 1-59534-031-9.


  • Happiness Is a Chemical in the Brain. W. W. Norton & Company. 2012. ISBN 9780393083538.


  1. ^ "Poet and novelist Lucia Perillo dies at 58". Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  2. ^ Langer, Emily. "Lucia Perillo, poet who unflinchingly dissected mortality, dies at 58", The Washington Post, October 25, 2016. Accessed October 27, 2016. "A decade into her career, and after the publication of two more poetry volumes, she received a 2000 MacArthur fellowship, commonly known as a 'genius grant.'"
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ a b Gates, Anita. "Lucia Perillo, Whose Illness Shaped Her Poetry, Dies at 58", The New York Times, October 25, 2016. Accessed October 26, 2016. "Lucia Maria Perillo was born on Sept. 30, 1958, in Manhattan and grew up in suburban Irvington, N.Y."
  5. ^[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Search". Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  7. ^ "Search for "lucia perillo" - The Kenyon Review". Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  8. ^ Perillo, Lucia (2007). I've Heard the Vultures Singing. San Antonio: Trinity University. ISBN 1-59534-031-9.
  9. ^ "Copper Canyon Press: On the Spectrum of Possible Deaths, poetry by Lucia Perillo". Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-10-24. Retrieved 2016-10-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ Meet the Class of 2000: Lucia M. Perillo, MacArthur Fellows Program. Accessed October 27, 2016. "Lucia Perillo is a young poet whose signature voice is marked by an urban speed and a narrative style driven by characterization and drama."
  12. ^ Copper Canyon Press[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ John Williams (January 14, 2012). "National Book Critics Circle Names 2012 Award Finalists". The New York Times. Retrieved January 15, 2013.
  14. ^ "2013 Pacific Northwest Book Awards Announced", NW Book Loves, January 7, 2013. Accessed October 27, 2016. "The Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, the indie bookstore booster behind this blog, announced the winners of their annual book awards today. Congratulations are in order for... Lucia Perillo (Olympia, WA) for On the Spectrum of Possible Deaths"

External linksEdit