Sandra Beasley

Sandra Beasley (Creative Non-Fiction, Poetry) | Washington, DC

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Sandra Beasley is the author of Count the Waves; I Was the Jukebox, winner of the Barnard Women Poets Prize; and Theories of Falling, winner of the New Issues Poetry Prize. She is also the author of Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life, a memoir and cultural history of food allergy. Honors include a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts; the Center for Book Arts Chapbook Prize; distinguished writer residencies at Cornell College, Lenoir-Rhyne University, and the University of Mississippi; two DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Artist Fellowships; and the Maureen Egen Exchange Award from Poets & Writers. Her prose has appeared in such venues as the New York Times, The Washington Post and The Oxford American. She was raised in Virginia and lives in Washington, D.C., where she coordinates literary programs for the Arts Club of Washington. She teaches on faculty for the University of Tampa’s low-residency MFA program.


Count the Waves (W.W. Norton & Co, 2015). Poetry.
Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl (Broadway Books, 2012). Creative Non-Fiction.
I Was the Jukebox (W.W. Norton & Co, 2011). Poetry. Barnard Women’s Poets Prize.

Theories of Falling (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2008). Poetry. New Issues Prize.


None in the Same Room (Center for Book Arts, 2013). Poetry.

Press & Reviews

When William H. Gass said truly sensual literature embraces ‘not the language of love, but the love of language…not what the tongue touches, but what it forms,’ he might as well have been describing Sandra Beasley’s Count the Waves. This new book casts the ebb and flow of love in ingenious forms, inflections, and contexts, but it also never shies from its desire to ‘name what you aim to warm with touch.’ Beasley’s virtuosity is rooted in heart. Edgy, beguiling, and wise: Count the Waves is a constant marvel.”
—Terrance Hayes, author of How to Be Drawn and Lighthead

“Sandra Beasley is a master poet of facts, story, feeling, and the slipknot statement that binds them together. Inventive, ingeniously fitted, musical, precise, unfettered, her poems etch and mirror the clarities and strangeness of our human lives. This irresistibly visionary book resembles to no small degree a cabinet of wonders. To every phenomenon and circumstance of the heart, its poems open, saying, Yes, this too I know; this too we are. Then add, Now, let us see further.”
—Jane Hirshfield, author of Come, Thief

“Sandra Beasley’s book is both hilarious and moving. It’s about what it’s like to live in fear of hidden parmesan, but it’s also about teenage rebellion, romance and George Washington Carver. Recommended for everyone, no matter what their immune system is like.”
—A.J. Jacobs, author of My Life as an Experiment and The Year of Living Biblically

“For readers who suffer from allergies, or care for someone who does, for parents who wonder why they can no longer send their child to school with the American staple, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or for anyone curious about how Sandra Beasley handles a lifelong challenge successfully, this book is for you. Winning, wise and humorous, you’ll think twice when someone says, ‘Pass the peanuts.’”
—Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of Don’t Sing at the Table

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