Bio

Elisabeth Blair is a poet, editor, and workshop leader with an extensive background in music and the visual arts. She has been artist-in-residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, Wildacres, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and ACRE. From 2016-19 she hosted and produced the podcast Listening to Ladies. Her publications include forthcoming full-length collection because God loves the wasp (Unsolicited Press, 2022), two chapbooks—We He She/It (Dancing Girl Press, 2016) and without saying (Ethel Press, 2020)—and poems in a variety of journals, including Harpur Palate (forthcoming), Feminist Studies, cream city review, and Juked.  

Publications

Forthcoming Book

because God loves the wasp

August 2022

A full-length poetry memoir to be published by Unsolicited Press

without saying

2020

Chapbook – Ethel Press

We He She/It

2016

Chapbook – Dancing Girl Press

Select Poems:
song for ourselves - Juked
ode to my plant - GNU
I want to be in grass - GNU
Girls - Roanoke Review
War - Ovenbird Poetry
Fusch, Austria - Eunoia
5 poems - Wicked Alice Zine
 
Further Publications:
Harpur Palate: Forthcoming
Cold Lake AnthologyLily Poetry ReviewUnlost JournalPøstWomenArts Quarterly Journal, Feminist Studiescream city review,West Michigan Artist Collective, armarollaS/tickRight Hand PointingBrickplightLady Lazarus Journal, Eunoia ReviewSWWIMS/tickDead Flowers:, A Poetry RagHumble Humdrum Cotton FrockThe Literary BohemianFortunates, Paramanu Pentaquark, zafusy, Can We Have Our Ball Back?, Lilliput Review, Shampoo, ken*again, Be Which Magazine, Acumen Literary Journal

Consulting

"Elisabeth has been incredible. She has pushed me to improve my manuscript to a degree I hadn't thought possible. She has not only helped me to clarify and tidy, but also to deepen and intensify. If you choose Elisabeth, you will have to work hard. And you will be wowed by the results." 

- Sarah-Jean Krahn, author of A Girl Who Was His House (Gothic Funk Press, 2020)

"Elisabeth sees the potential in a poem and is willing to play with possibilities. Her suggestions are empathic to the poem's intent, incisive, and delivered with genuine regard. She has cleared the dross from many of my muddled poems, encouraging both clarity and complexity where needed. I recommend her unreservedly." 

- Malisa Garlieb, author of Handing out Apples in Eden (Wind Ridge Books, 2014)

 "With rich, generous attentiveness and care, Elisabeth nurtures the finer details of language, the nuances of meaning, and the writer's intent. She demonstrates exceptional skill with editing, chiseling out clean precision with language, shaping exactitude with phrasing, and inviting layers of meaning to emerge. Most important, she listens to and greets the writer's muse, understanding the deepest intention of the work and bringing it to the surface. Working with Elisabeth has been the most purposeful and rewarding experience I have had with an editor."   

- Elaine Pentaleri, co-editor of Mud Season Review

"I have been writing off and on for fifty years, mostly poetry. Not every form of inspiration ends in a poem. Sometimes you can be too close to your material yet you feel there is room to strengthen your work. Elisabeth worked with me to accomplish that. She was easy to work with and I highly recommend her services."

~ Roger Watters, author of A Picture of Life (Onion River Press, 2021)

Full-length or chapbook-length manuscript consultation:
I offer detailed feedback and suggestions for helping your book reach its highest potential. First we'll meet, and I'll ask you questions about your intentions for the work — the audience, the mood, the message, the content, the style. I believe that grappling with these questions is a central part of the revision process, and that my role is to be a gentle interrogator. Based on your answers, I'll go through your manuscript on my own time and provide specific, tailored suggestions for how to meet your goals and intentions, on both the macro- and micro-scales: the overall form and flow of the work, and the roles of each individual word. 

For my initial reading of a manuscript, I charge a fixed fee.* After I've made this first pass, I will work with you to arrive at an agreed one-time fee for the entire project that suits your budget, your goals, and the needs of the manuscript.  

Live 1-1 workshopping of individual poems:  
Sign up for either 30- or 60-minute one-on-one live workshop sessions with me, done virtually through Zoom or in-person (when possible and safe). You can make an appointment and pay* below. 

Asynchronous feedback (email correspondence) for individual poems or short pieces of writing:  
Same as the 1-1 workshopping above, except via email instead of a live meeting – you send me a poem or poems and I'll spend the amount of time you've paid for to look it over and provide written feedback. Select a time block and pay,* and I will send you my written feedback by the conclusion of the time block you've selected.

*If you would experience hardship (food or housing insecurity or going without any essential goods or services) by paying the listed fees, or if you are simply unable to pay the fees in full, please enter coupon code "SOLIDARITY" at checkout for any of my services, to receive a 50% discount. 

 

 

Events

Poetry About a Difficult Past: One Approach

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Online

Note: The presenter's poetry memoir, because god loves the wasp, will be published by Unsolicited Press on August 30, 2022.

In this workshop I'll share the process I employed to write and revise a memoir in verse about the 2.5 years I experienced within the abusive, for-profit, cult-based "troubled teen" industry in the 1990s.

There's no single right way to write a memoir in verse, of course, but I found the method I developed to be helpful with tackling frightening, painful, confusing, and distant subject matter. In this workshop I'll share:

  • How I gently and systematically pulled myself through various stages of the writing and revision processes
  • How I utilized both conscious emotional distancing and emotional immersion at different times, always with the aim of (at least partially) sidestepping being re-harmed while facing these memories
  • The ways in which the form and aesthetics of the poems developed through freewriting, magnification, voice shifting, audience considerations, cooperation between my past & present selves, and more
  • How I learned to recognize the line between between what I had written for myself versus what I had written for the book
  • Advice on what I wish I had done differently, especially with regards to obtaining therapeutic support

You'll leave this workshop with helpful tools for writing your own memoirs in verse -- or for simply writing individual poems about trauma and/or a difficult past.

TRIGGERS: Since it will look at content from my book, this workshop will contain triggering subject matter; primarily the verbal, emotional, psychological, and physical abuse and neglect of minors, with brief mentions of other traumas including sexual assault.

This workshop will take place on Zoom. It is scheduled for 3 hours instead of the more commonly scheduled 2 hours in order to allow for the workshop to proceed safely and without rushing; to provide a lengthy, restful break; and to allow for as many questions as possible. The format will be:

12:30–1:45 - Presentation & Discussion 1:45–2:15 - Break 2:15–3:30 - Presentation & Discussion

The suggested payment is $20. Please pay what you can afford; all payments go directly to supporting my writing and teaching. If you do not have the financial resources to pay any amount, please select the "Solidarity" ticket option.

Newsletter

lullabies & alarms is Elisabeth's  monthly newsletter on the craft & power of poetry. It also includes exercises, recommended readings, and writing prompts. The free version and the paid version are the same; the paid version supports my writing and teaching (thank you!!!). Topics include craft, form, aesthetics, voice, privilege, intentions, harm, poetic devices, accessibility, opacity, history, art, music, language, visual art, improvisation, mediumship, revision techniques, mixing forms, and the subconscious, to name a few. 

*Anyone who self-identifies as being unable to afford a paid subscription is welcome to a complimentary subscription

Music

Beginning in 2004, Elisabeth studied voice privately, then spent many years on the singer/songwriter circuit in Chicago, self-producing 5 solo albums, including a showcase album, Country of Origin (see below). She also worked closely with theatre groups, writers, and a magician to create commissioned stage and theme music. After experiencing the thrills of improvisation as lead vocalist for both Robert Metrick's The Power of Then and Carole McCurdy's ALAS, she moved into both free improvisation and formal composition. She earned a Specialist Certificate in Music Composition for Film and TV from Berklee in 2015, and from 2015-17 studied music composition part-time in the graduate program at Western Michigan University. She initiated the Improv Poetry Orchestra, a pop-up performance experience that anyone can organize, which pairs improvisers of music and poetry together in a live setting.  She was fortunate to be a participant composer at the Toronto Creative Music Lab, a composer-in-residence at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts and Wildacres, and worked with improviser/composer Karl Berger at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Her works have been performed internationally, including New York, Melbourne, Canberra, Berlin, Montreal, and Zacatecas.

Country of Origin

Elisabeth Blair

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Country of Origin

Album download

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My first solo album, 2010. Featuring Michael Tracht on cello (Virgin, Halifax Explosion, Duck Duck Goose) and appearances by Ryan Gunzel (formerly of House & Bird) on bass, dulcimer and banjo (To Be Alone, Secret). Free - or set your own price.

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Magical Island

Christopher Howell and Elisabeth Blair

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Based on the live magic show for children, devised and performed by London-based magician, Christopher Howell.
Lyrics, music, and production by Elisabeth Blair.
Cover art by mulberryfrancis.co

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Chamber & electroacoustic music: Contact me to obtain scores/parts.

Improv Poetry Orchestra

Elisabeth initiated this practice at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in February 2017. It involves writing poetry live, projected on a screen, while musicians improvise. The writer (who can be Elisabeth, another poet, or a member of the public) and the musicians work with each others' material in real time, creating symbiotic narratives and sound worlds that would never normally come into being on their own. She has created an Improv Poetry Orchestra at ACA in Florida, at the ACRE space in Chicago, and was featured at the Oh My Ears New Music Festival in January 2018. See examples of performances.

Podcast

Listening to Ladies is a podcast created, hosted, and produced by Elisabeth Blair, which aired between September 26th, 2016 and September 27th, 2019. The 30 episodes feature excerpts from interviews with composers who identify as women, interwoven with samples of their work. Interviewees include established, emerging and under-recognized composers from the USA, Canada, Argentina, Israel, Iran, Scotland, England, and Australia. Each interview covers two main themes: the composer's experience of being a woman in this field, and the composer's music & aesthetics. The podcast was funded by Patreon subscribers, the Irving S Gilmore Foundation in partnership with 102.1 WMUK, and the International Alliance for Women in Music.

Contact

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occasional (1-3 times per year) updates on my projects.