Moxley, Jennifer 1964-

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Moxley, Jennifer 1964-


Born 1964, in San Diego, CA; partner of Steve Evans (a critic). Education: University of Rhode Island, B.A.; Brown University, M.F.A., 1994.


Home—Orono, ME. Office—University of Maine, 5752 Neville Hall, Rm. 213, Orono, ME 04469. E-mail—[email protected]


Impercipient (magazine), editor, 1992-95; Impercipient Lecture Series (poetics pamphlet), editor, with Steve Evans; Baffler (magazine), poetry editor, 1997—; University of Maine, Orono, Honors College, assistant professor, 2001-07, associate professor of English, 2007—. Contributing editor of Poker (magazine), 2003—. Advisor to the Modern Review.



The First Division of Labour (chapbook), Rosetta Chapbook (Boston, MA), 1995.

(Translator) Jacqueline Risset, The Translation Begins, Burning Deck (Providence, RI), 1996.

Imagination Verses, Tender Buttons (New York, NY), 1996, 2nd revised edition, Salt (Cambridge, England), 2003.

Enlightenment Evidence (chapbook), Rempress (Cambridge, England), 1996.

Ten Still Petals (chapbook), privately published, 1996.

Wrong Life: Ten New Poems (chapbook), Equipage (Cambridge, England), 1999.

The Sense Record and Other Poems, Edge (Washington, DC), 2002, 2nd revised edition, Salt (Cambridge, England), 2003.

The Occasion (chapbook), Belladonna (New York, NY), 2002.

Often Capital, Flood Editions (Chicago, IL), 2005.

Fragments of a Broken Poetics (prose chapbook), Impercipient Editions (Orono, ME), 2006.

The Line, Post-Apollo Press (Sausalito, CA), 2007.

The Middle Room (prose), Subpress (Berkeley, CA), 2007.

(Translator) Jacqueline Risset, Sleep's Powers, Ugly Duckling Presse (Brooklyn, NY), 2008.

Work represented in anthologies, including An Anthology of New (American) Poets, edited by Lisa Jarnot, Leonard Schwartz, and Chris Stroffolino, Talisman House, 1998; The Best American Poetry 2002, edited by Robert Creeley; Isn't It Romantic: 100 Love Poems by Younger American Poets, edited by Brett Fletcher Lauer and Aimee Kelley, Verse, 2004; and Vanishing Points, New Modernist Poets, edited by Rod Mengham and John Kinsella, Salt (Cambridge, England), 2004.


Born in San Diego, California, Jennifer Moxley studied at the University of San Diego, then moved to Providence, Rhode Island, where she completed her B.A. at the University of Rhode Island and then an M.F.A. at Brown University. She has lived in France twice, first after finishing high school and next from 1998 to 1999, with her partner, Steven Evans, with whom she edited a poetry pamphlet. When they returned to the United States, it was to Maine, where in 2001, Moxley took a position with the University of Maine at Orono.

In a review of her earlier work, Imagination Verses, for the Boston Review Online, John Yau commented that poets of Moxley's generation, to whom she dedicates this collection, should consider a passage she has included in her preface. Moxley writes: "The poem offers a history of and a future for the mind's prerogative to exist as more than a memory of its milieus. It is a small but necessary intervention, a crucial and critical disjuncture." Yau wrote: "Not only is Moxley critical of autobiographical poetry written, it seems, in the tranquillity of recollection and the poet's knowledge that there exists a small but accepting, empathetic audience, but she is also voicing her doubts about any poetry that dramatizes the self's fixed relationship to the world." "The subject of Imagination Verses," wrote Yau, "is the unbridgeable, potentially chaotic space between the ‘I’ and the ‘you.’ Moxley wants to reanimate the personal address, and she knows that she has to find a way to do so that transcends derivative borrowings from her literary ancestors, particularly Frank O'Hara." Yau also felt that Moxley believes "that the poem must earn its existence, and that the poet can only ensure this possibility, by attending more to the construction of lines and the juxtaposition of words within a line than to the narration of a story." A Publishers Weekly contributor concluded a review by writing that in Moxley's debut collection, "a remarkably distinctive voice speaks directly to our hearts and minds."

In her second full-length collection, The Sense Record and Other Poems, Moxley offers twenty-seven poems, including two long poems, the six-part title poem, and "Impervious to Starlight," a poem about love. Reflected in these poems is Moxley's concern about her fears and hopes for poetry and a life spent writing it. Commenting on the title poem, Chris Glomski wrote for the Chicago Review: "Weaving together fragments of personal narrative, dreamy mythic episode, and philosophical confessionalism, it is a rain-soaked analysis of disappointment and despair." Glomski felt that the "two long poems alone are worth the price of entry; they make The Sense Record not merely recommended, but essential." Of the other poems in the collection, Glomski wrote: "The preoccupation with routine resurfaces in poems such as "On This Side Nothing," "Fear of an Empty Life," and the collection's second entry, "A Transom over Death's Door," a poem which acts as foil to its predecessor, threatening even to unhinge the hard-won ‘condolence’ of "Cutaway Insight." In doing so it thoroughly establishes the tension, the anxiety-ridden stimmung with which The Sense Record is so charged."

"Moxley has moved beyond her prankish, even punkish demeanor to create a grander, more difficult persona," noted a Publishers Weekly contributor, who concluded by writing that "this is one act that will be hard to follow."

The Line is a collection of forty-one prose pieces that lament the "horrors of wasted potential," as was noted by a Publishers Weekly reviewer, who called the volume "a seriously depressing book … from a tremendously talented poet."



Boston Review, October-November, 2002, Cole Swenson, review of The Sense Record and Other Poems.

Chicago Review, summer, 2003, Chris Glomski, review of The Sense Record and Other Poems, p. 157.

Poetry Review, 2004, Jane Griffiths, review of The Sense Record and Other Poems, pp. 93-94.

Publishers Weekly, November 25, 1996, review of Imagination Verses, p. 71; June 17, 2002, review of The Sense Record and Other Poems, p. 59; June 25, 2007, review of The Line, p. 36.

Village Voice: Books, October 2-8, 2002, Cathy Houg, review of The Sense Record and Other Poems.


Boston Review Online, (April 9, 2008), John Yau, review of Imagination Verses.

Rain Taxi, (winter, 2002), Arielle Greenberg, review of The Sense Record and Other Poems.

University of Maine Web site, (April 9, 2008), faculty profile.