Elizabeth Onusko

Elizabeth Onusko (Poetry) | New York, NY

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Elizabeth Onusko’s first full-length collection, Portrait of the Future with Trapdoor, won the Bryant-Lisembee Book Prize and will be published by Red Paint Hill in spring 2016. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Witness, Best New Poets 2015, Conduit, DIAGRAM, and Redivider, among others. Her work has also been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and featured on Verse Daily. A founding editor of Guernica, Elizabeth holds an MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English with a Writing Concentration from Fordham University. She is currently the assistant editor of inter|rupture and lives in New York.


Portrait of the Future with Trapdoor (Red Paint Hill, 2016)
Portrait of the Future with Trapdoor (Red Paint Hill, 2016)

Press & Reviews

“Because, as Elizabeth Onusko tells us, ‘Sadness is rarely precise,’ each poem in this book tries to surround and plumb its imprecision with language so acutely exacting that the impossibility of locating sadness and its remedy is made evermore sad, the desire for a child and a pathology’s thwarting of that desire evermore desirous and unfulfilled until, as magically as these beautiful poems seem to have arrived (against all odds, always), the body, too, arrives anew. There are moments in this book as rare and unexpected as any in contemporary poetry today. And that is because of one thing: Onusko is luminous.”
-Katie Ford, author of Deposition, Colosseum, and Blood Lyrics

“Welcome to the battlefield. In this electrically charged debut, Elizabeth Onusko pits societal revolutionaries against the human body fragile under the dominion of disease. Whether on the grandest scale or at the microscopic, cellular level, Onusko’s precise imagery builds a new landscape both magical and terrifying. Here, we are trapped behind walls of bone, skulls become fishbowls, glass drops from a spiraling staircase — charting a powerful journey in search of the healing that opens the door.”
-Cynthia Marie Hoffman, author of Sightseer, Her Human Costume, and Paper Doll Fetus

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