Swannanoa, North Carolina
54 at time of award
Area of Focus
Published July 1, 1991

About Eleanor's Work

Eleanor Wilner is a poet whose work integrates myth and history.

Her poems are known for their fluid narrative line.  Eschewing a personal, confessional mode, she views her role as poet as that of a bearer of cultural memory and draws frequently from her studies of comparative mythology, history, and anthropology.  Wilner’s poems are a retelling of the past through which she seeks to alter the collective memory of her readers.  Her books of poetry include Maya (1979), Shekhinah (1984), Sarah’s Choice (1989), Otherwise (1993), Reversing the Spell: New and Selected Poems (1998), Precessional (1998), and The Girl with Bees in Her Hair (2004).  She is also the author of a book on visionary imagination, Gathering the Winds (1975).  Her poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals, including The Norton Anthology of Poetry (1996), the New Republic, the New Yorker, and the Southern Review.


Wilner teaches in the M.F.A. Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa, North Carolina.  She has also been a visiting writer at numerous institutions, including Smith College and Northwestern University and is the former editor of the American Poetry Review.

Wilner received a B.A. (1959) from Goucher College and a Ph.D. (1972) from the Johns Hopkins University.

Last updated January 1, 2005

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