Meghan O’Rourke

Award-winning Poet
Celebrated Memoirist
Literary Critic & Essayist
Editor of The Yale Review

Readings &
Lecture Topics
  • Publishing & Editing
  • On Loss & Healing: Why We Write About Grief
  • The Role of Criticism In Our Times
  • An Evening with Meghan O’Rourke

Biography

“The only way out of a first-rate poem is its ending, so strong is its pull on the reader’s attention. Meghan O’Rourke writes this kind of poem again and again, releasing us only after her poems have fully cast their spell.” — Billy Collins

“To face death without the architecture of belief may be devastating, but when endured by gifted writers, it results in a potent genre: the memoir of loss. Add to the canon the talented young writer Meghan O’Rourke.” —LA Times

“Fiercely and fearlessly rich, her lines burn like encaustic: ‘the burning thing.’” –John Ashbery

Poet, memoirist, and editor Meghan O’Rourke began her career as an editor at The New Yorker. She is the author of the bestselling The Long Goodbye (Riverhead, 2011), a memoir that captures the fleeting moments of joy that make up a life and shows us the way memory can lead us out of the jagged darkness of loss. The book which asks: What does it mean to mourn today, in a culture that has largely set aside rituals that acknowledge grief? O, The Oprah Magazine called The Long Goodbye the “Most Moving Book of 2011.”

Her three poetry collections are: Sun in Days (2017), a powerful collection about the frailty of the body, the longing for a child, and the philosophical questions raised when the body goes dramatically awry, which was a finalist for the Patterson Poetry Prize and a New York Times Best Poetry Book of the year; Once (2011); and Halflife (2007), which was a finalist for both the Patterson Poetry Prize and the Forward First Book Prize in the UK. Her most recent memoir The Invisible Kingdom is forthcoming in 2022.

O’Rourke is the current editor of The Yale Review, and has served as culture editor and literary critic for Slate, and poetry editor for The Paris Review. O’Rourke’s essays, criticism, and poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, The Nation, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, and Best American Poetry.

O’Rourke is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Radcliffe Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, two Pushcart Prizes, the inaugural May Sarton Poetry Prize, the Union League Prize for Poetry from the Poetry Foundation, and a Front Page Award for cultural criticism. O’Rourke served as a fellow at the MacDowell Colony and was a finalist for the Rome Prize of the Academy of Arts and Letters. A graduate of Yale University, O’Rourke has taught at Princeton, The New School, and New York University.

She resides in Brooklyn, where she grew up, and Marfa, TX.

Short Bio

Meghan O’Rourke, award-winning poet, nonfiction writer, and acclaimed editor, is the author of the poetry collections Sun In DaysOnce, and Halflife, as well as the memoirs The Invisible Kingdom and The Long Goodbye. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, two Pushcart Prizes, and the inaugural May Sarton Poetry Prize, among her many other awards, O’Rourke writes for The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and is the editor of The Yale Review. O’Rourke resides in Brooklyn, where she grew up, and Marfa, TX.

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