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Nicky Beer

Visiting Poet

Nicky Beer

In her artist’s statement for a 2007 NEA fellowship, Nicky Beer described her poems as “little icebergs of time…the product of three or four hours of doing something else entirely…bird watching, chopping garlic, hiking, reading, listening to Tom Waits CDs, standing in front of a 17th century Dutch still-life painting, eavesdropping, or simply dillydallying,” and went on to say “what I love about writing poetry is how well the whole endeavor resists efficiency, pragmatism, and anything that falls under the heading ‘proactive.’” Beer’s poetics is a proud and visible queer/bi poetics that champions duality and multiplicity as forces that hold space for life’s fundamental untidiness, and our often simultaneous needs for love, grief, and play. Her most recent work, Real Phonies and Genuine Fakes (Milkweed Editions, 2022), opens with the thrilling “Drag Day at Dollywood,” where multiple drag Dolly Partons piggyback and make mischief across Dollywood before coming to rest with a scene of Dollys cascading like happy dominoes, “[Dolly’s] head on Dolly’s breast,/who rests her head on Dolly’s breast, who rests/her head on Dolly’s breast on Dolly’s breast.” Beer is the author of two other collections of poetry, The Octopus Game (Carnegie Mellon, 2015) and The Diminishing House (Carnegie Mellon, 2010). Her awards include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, among others. Her poems have been published in Best American PoetryPoetryThe NationThe New YorkerThe Southern ReviewKenyon Review, and elsewhere. She is an associate professor at the University of Colorado Denver, where she is a poetry editor for the journal Copper Nickel.

About Nicky

Photo by Dustin Moon

Poetry Center Reading: April 2024