Alison Pelegrin

Alison Pelegrin (Poetry) | New Orleans, LA

Booking Fee:


Will Travel:




Alison Pelegrin is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Waterlines from LSU Press. The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Louisiana Division of the Arts, her poems have appeared in Poetry, The Southern Review, and The Cincinnati Review. She teaches creative writing and publishing studies at Southeastern Louisiana University, and she is a competitive olympic weightlifter.


Waterlines (LSU Press 2016). Poetry.
Hurricane Party (University of Akron Press 2011). Poetry.
Big Muddy River of Stars* (University of Akron Press 2007). Winner of the Akron Poetry Prize. Poetry.

Blurbs, Press & Reviews

With Li Po as her muse, and a subject matter ranging from home-wreckers, honky-tonks, and jackalopes to post-Katrina tragedy and survival, I’m afraid I’m stumped to find a fitting figure for the utterly unique voice of Alison Pelegrin in Big Muddy River of Stars. Dorothy Parker by way of Brother Dave Gardner? Some unearthly brew of Amy Clampitt, Pearl Bailey, and the saucier at Antoine’s? Words fail me, but certainly not Pelegrin, who writes some of the jazziest, high-velocity, funny, serious, and, if I may say so without causing the keepers of the gates of high culture to wet their pants, entertaining poetry I have read in a long time. For those who hate poetry, try this book. For those who love poetry, this is your lucky day.
—B.H. Fairchild, Akron Poetry Contest, judge

Waterlines resonated with my Louisiana soul.”
—Monroe News-Star

“After the flooding from Hurricane Katrina, a displaced family, in Waterlines, has moved ‘across the Lake,’ leaving urbane, Catholic, funky New Orleans for ‘the rural South, where no one’s sneaky about violence.’ ‘(O)mens and holy rollers…were staked out / at our back door with pamphlets //and loaves of bread.’ With her fine ear for speech rhythms and the characteristic phrase, and her mystic’s eye for precise detail and intensity, Pelegrin give us poems dense with the sights, smells, sounds, and finally the value, of this new present. The poems embody the resilience we need: ‘Outside the doublewide I’ll stand/and bless creation in its disarray.’ And they offer a ‘Prayer of Forgiveness’ any of us could pray in a strange land: ‘God forgive my open eyes, my unrepentant gawking.’”
—Ava Leavell Haymon, author of Eldest Daughter

“It’s said that figures as different as Jefferson and Goethe were comfortable in the world because they were at home at Monticello and Weimar, respectively, and the same is true of Alison Pelegrin. Waterlines starts locally and then radiates outward, not geographically so much as emotionally and spiritually. There are poems about faith, poems of wry and even scary self-examination, poems that combine these themes and more. Pelegrin stays close to her roots yet journeys out and back, ranging widely and then coming home to tap strength and sustenance. In the end, Waterlines is a big, big book.”
—David Kirby, author of Get Up, Please

Hurricane Party is a collection of larger-than-life poems that capture the cadence of New Orleans speech, and the indomitable spirit of its speakers and its culture. It’s refreshing to hear an authentic Louisiana voice, gutsy and genuine, putting it out there in the midst of the mess of “Yankeefied” and “celestial” poems Pelegrin rails against in “Katrina Scribendi.” By turns prickly and heartrendingly comic, these poems perform, with the mastery of a fine poet who also understands the art of stand-up comedy, the surreal reality of being Louisnana.”
—Sheryl St. Germain, author of Navigating Disaster: Sixteen Essays of Love and a Poem of Despair

Love what we do? Take a second to support us on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!