Eleni Sikelianos, a native of California, is the author of two hybrid memoirs (The Book of Jon and You Animal Machine) and eight books of poetry, most recently Make Yourself Happy. As a translator, she has published Jacques Roubaud’s Exchanges on Light and Sabine Macher’s the L notebook. Her work, which frequently draws on biology resources, looks into the open from our deep animal past, seeking passage backwards and forwards in worlds and in times.
A graduate of the Jack Kerouac School, she is in the lineage of the avant-garde strains represented by her many teachers there, encompassing ecopoetics, investigative practices, and lyric and nonlyric approaches to human citizenship. For a decade, she worked as a poet in residence in homeless shelters, public schools, and prisons. Before coming to Brown, she taught at the University of Denver (where she founded and ran the Writers in the Schools program), and she remains on guest faculty for the Naropa Summer Writing Program. Committed to a cross-national notion of poetry, she is frequently invited to festivals and colloquia abroad. Equally committed to an expanded notion of how poems can behave in social space, she has regularly collaborated with musicians, filmmakers and visual artists, including Philip Glass, Ed Bowes, Christine Lee, Roger Green, and Mel Chin. She has been the happy recipient of various awards and residencies for her poetry, nonfiction, and translations, including two National Endowment for the Arts Awards, a New York Foundation for the Arts Award, a Fulbright Senior Scholar fellowship, Seeger Fellowship, Lannan residency, and a National Poetry Series selection. Books have been translated into French and Greek, and poems have been translated into over a dozen languages.