Shomer, Enid

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Shomer, Enid


Born February 2, in Washington, DC; daughter of Philip (a house painter) and Minnie (a homemaker) Steine; children: two. Education: Wellesley College, B.A.; University of Miami, M.A.


Home—Tampa, FL. Agent—Diane Bartoli, Artists Literary Group, 27 W. 20th St., 10th Fl., New York, NY 10011. E-mail—[email protected]


Poet. University of Miami, Miami, FL, lecturer in English, 1974-80; Antioch College, Yellow Springs, OH, writer-in-residence at Writer's Workshop, 1988-91; Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, writer in residence, 1994; University of Arkansas, visiting writer and associate professor; University of Arkansas Press, poetry series editor, 2002—. Thurber House, writer-in-residence, 1994; judge of poetry contests; presenter of poetry readings at several universities and on the radio networks Voice of America and National Public Radio.


PEN, Poetry Society of America, Poets and Writers, Authors Guild, Associated Writing Programs.


Eve of St. Agnes Prize, Negative Capability, 1985, for "Women Bathing at Bergen-Belsen"; artists' fellowships, State of Florida, 1985, 1991, and 1996; Washington Prize in Poetry, 1986; Cincinnati Poetry Review Prize, 1986, for best poem sequence; Jubilee Press Chapbook Prize, 1986, for Florida Postcards; winner of writing competition in poetry, Writer's Digest, 1986, for "First Sunset at Outler's Ranch"; Washington Book Prize, Word Works, 1987, for Stalking the Florida Panther; National Endowment for the Arts long poem prize, Apalachee Quarterly, 1989, for "Datelines: Jacqueline Cochran at War's End"; National Endowment for the Arts, fellow, 1989 and 1996; Celia B. Wagner Award, Poetry Society of America, 1990, for "Sestina for Indian Summer"; Randall Jarrell Poetry Prize, 1992, for "My Friend Who Sings before Breakfast"; Wildwood Poetry Prize, 1992, for "Learning CPR"; H.E. Francis Short Fiction Prize, and award from Iowa Woman, both 1992, for "On the Boil"; Iowa Fiction Prize, University of Iowa Press, 1992, for Imaginary Men; Eunice Tietjens Memorial Prize, Poetry, 1992, for "Pope Joan"; Louisiana State University, Southern Review Short Fiction Award, 1993, for Imaginary Men; Emily Clark Balch Prize in Fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review, 2003; Guy Owen Poetry Prize, Southern Poetry Review, 2005; Glenna Luschei Award, Prairie Schooner, 2006, for short story "The Hottest Spot on Earth."



The Startle Effect (chapbook), American Studies Press (Tampa, FL), 1983.

Florida Postcards, Jubilee Press (Tampa, FL), 1987.

Stalking the Florida Panther, Word Works (Washington, DC), 1988.

This Close to the Earth, University of Arkansas Press (Fayetteville, AR), 1992.

Black Drum, University of Arkansas Press (Fayetteville, AR), 1997.

Stars at Noon: Poems from the Life of Jacqueline Cochran, University of Arkansas Press (Fayetteville, AR), 2001.


Imaginary Men (short stories; includes "On the Boil"), University of Iowa Press (Iowa City, IA), 1993.

Pope Joan (dance oratorio), music by Anne Le Baron, first produced in Pittsburgh, PA, at Byham Theater, 2000.

Tourist Season: Stories, Random House (New York, NY), 2007.

Poetry represented in numerous anthologies, including Bubbeh Heisehs by Shayney Maidelehs: Poetry by Jewish Granddaughters about Our Grandmothers, Her-Books, 1989; Ghosts of the Holocaust: An Anthology of Poetry by the Second Generation, Wayne State University Press (Detroit, MI), 1989; Poems from the Earth: On Nature and the Environment, Mesilla, 1990; Claiming the Spirit Within: A Source Book of Women's Poetry, Beacon (Boston, MA), 1996; Best American Poetry 1996, Scribner (New York, NY), 1997; New Stories from the South: 1998, the Year's Best, Algonquin (Chapel Hill, NC), 1998; Literature: A Pocket Anthology, Penguin Academics (New York, NY), 2002; Aunties: 35 Writers Write about Their Own Mother, Ballantine (New York, NY), 2004; and New Stories from the South: The Year's Best, 2006, Algonquin (Chapel Hill, NC), 2006. Produced The Poet and the Poem (sound recording), 1988. Contributor of poetry, short fiction, and articles to periodicals, including Atlantic Monthly, Arete, California Quarterly, Fiction Quarterly, Florida, Florida Review, Helicon Nine, Massachusetts Review, Midstream, Negative Capability, New Criterion, New Directions in Prose and Poetry 55, New Yorker, Paris Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, and Women's Review of Books.

Prose represented in anthologies, including New Visions: Fiction by Florida Writers, Arbiter, 1989; The Time of Our Lives: Women Write on Sex after Forty, Crossing Press, 1993; and An Anthology of Jewish Mother/Daughter Writings, Beacon Press.


Enid Shomer is an award-winning poet and short-story writer. She has published several volumes of verse and is also the author of Imaginary Men, which New York Times Book Review critic Diane Postlethwaite described as a "fine first collection of stories." Among the tales in this volume are "Street Signs," in which the first-person narrator recounts an irate brother's move to the suburbs; the cycle "On the Land," about various individuals in rural Florida; and "On the Boil," in which an aerial surveyor becomes increasingly restricted by domestic demands. Postlethwaite remarked that each tale in Imaginary Men "is a distinct pleasure."

Black Drum, Shomer's third volume of poetry, concerns the loss of family and confession, but avoids resorting to bitterness or accusations. Instead, Shomer comes through as someone lonely in her later years, left behind by a number of relatives who have died at young ages. David Yezzi, writing for Poetry, remarked that "it is owing to Shomer's considerable lyric and descriptive powers that we can read with interest about this father, mother, sister, husband, and friend." In a review for Booklist, contributor Donna Seaman called Shomer's poems "soothingly melodic and powerfully syncopated." Her next collection, Stars at Noon: Poems from the Life of Jacqueline Cochran, serves as a biography of female aviator Cochran, who was the first woman to break the sound barrier in 1953, made up of poems inspired by her life. In a review for Booklist, Ray Olson wrote that "the poems put meat on the factual bones of Cochran's amazing life."

Returning to short fiction, Shomer offers readers Tourist Season: Stories, a collection of short stories concerning a series of women who find themselves wrapped up in adventures outside their normal routine. In one story, a runaway from Florida becomes involved in a hit-and-run robbery in New York. Another heroine receives visitors—emissaries from the Dalai Lama—who declare her to be the next Great Adept. Shomer writes about women of varying ages, at different stages of life, and the ways in which people attempt to escape from the expected. Carol Haggas, in a review for Booklist, noted that "Shomer's female protagonists embody an underlying universality of experience." Alex Kuczynski wrote in the New York Times that Tourist Season "dabbles in comedy, tragedy, even magic realism, with the style of a poet."



Booklist, July, 1997, Donna Seaman, review of Black Drum, p. 1791; October 15, 2001, Ray Olson, review of Stars at Noon: Poems from the Life of Jacqueline Cochran, p. 375; November 1, 2006, Carol Haggas, review of Tourist Season: Stories, p. 31.

Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2006, review of Tourist Season, p. 985.

New York Times Book Review, April 4, 1993, Diane Postlethwaite, review of Imaginary Men, p. 14; June 3, 2007, Alex Kuczynski "Heartburn and Magic," review of Tourist Season, p. 31.

Poetry, August, 1998, David Yezzi, review of Black Drum, p. 291.


Enid Shomer Home Page, (July 12, 2007).