Perillo, Lucia 1958-

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PERILLO, Lucia 1958-
(Lucia Maria Perillo)


Born 1958; married.


Home—Olympia, WA.


During early career, worked as a park ranger; former faculty member at Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, Saint Martin's University, Lacey, WA, and Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL.


PEN/Revson Foundation Poetry fellowship, Kate Tufts Prize from Claremont University, and Balcones Prize from Austin Community College, all for The Body Mutinies; Kingsley Tufts Award, Claremont Graduate University, for Luck Is Luck; Norma Farber Award for best first book, Poetry Society of America, 1989, for Dangerous Life; MacArthur Award, 2000; Luck Is Luck was on the New York Public Library's 2005 list of books to remember.


Dangerous Life (poems), selected and introduced by Peter Davison, Northeastern University Press (Boston, MA), 1989.

The Body Mutinies (poems), Purdue University Press (West Lafayette, IN), 1996.

The Oldest Map with the Name America: New and Selected Poems, Random House (New York, NY), 1999.

Luck Is Luck: Poems, Random House (New York, NY), 2005.

(Selector and author of introduction) Roy Jacobstein, A Form of Optimism, Northeastern University (Boston, MA), 2006.

Contributor to periodicals, including the New Yorker, Kenyon Review, and the Atlantic. Contributor to anthologies, including Best American Poetry and the Pushcart anthology.


New York Times Book Review critic David Kirby, in a review of Luck Is Luck: Poems, called award-winning poet Lucia Perillo "the funniest poet writing today, which is saying a lot, since she's also the poet most concerned with the treachery practiced on us daily by our best friends and worst enemies, our bodies." He concluded that the collection includes "one exquisitely wrought poem after another." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly called her poetry "sassy, slangy and aggressively matter-of-fact." Donna Seaman, writing for Booklist, commented that Perillo "pulls readers into the beat and whirl of her slyly devastating descriptions and observations."

The Oldest Map with the Name America: Selected and New Poems, which combines older works with newer efforts, was not as enthusiastically received as Luck Is Luck. For example, Burton Raffel, writing for the Literary Review, called the collection "twenty-nine floundering, hopelessly ambitious, constantly struggling poems, spread over eighty-five pages."

Perillo told CA: "Failing at every other arena of artistic endeavor got me interested in writing poems. And the surprising thing I've learned as a poet is that I'm not that good at writing either, if I compare myself to the masters. So another thing I've learned is: don't compare."



Atlanta Journal-Constitution, April 3, 2005, David Kirby, "An Ode to April, a Nod to Verse," p. L1.

Booklist, March 15, 1999, Donna Seaman, review of The Oldest Map with the Name America: New and Selected Poems, p. 1279; February 15, 2005, Donna Seaman, review of Luck Is Luck: Poems, p. 1052; January 1, 2006, review of Luck Is Luck, p. 6.

Literary Review, winter, 2000, Burton Raffel, "Six Poets of 1999," p. 275.

New York Times Book Review, April 10, 2005, David Kirby, review of Luck Is Luck, p. 38.

Publishers Weekly, February 22, 1999, review of The Oldest Map with the Name America, p. 87; April 4, 2005, review of Luck Is Luck, p. 57.

Times (Seattle, WA), December 2, 2005, Michael Upchurch, "Wry, Spirited Look at Realities of Life," p. J2.


Lucia Perillo Home Page, (July 24, 2006).

Poets and Writers Web site, (July 25, 2006), biography of Lucia Perillo.