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Elizabeth Cantwell is a poet living in Claremont, CA, with her husband (screenwriter Christopher Cantwell) and their two sons. She has eight years of experience teaching high school, where she worked to convince students of the beauty of Tolstoy's vision, the perfection of Fitzgerald's sentences, and the social necessity of horror. 


Elizabeth has a B.A. from Yale University and a Ph.D. in Literature & Creative Writing from the University of Southern California. Her poetry has appeared in a variety of journals, including DIAGRAM, The Cincinnati Review, The Los Angeles Review, Hobart, and The Missouri Review.


She is the author of a chapbook, Premonitions (Grey Book Press), and two full-length books of poetry. Her first book of poems, Nights I Let The Tiger Get You (Black Lawrence Press), was a finalist for the 2012 Hudson Prize. Her second book, All the Emergency-Type Structures, was a finalist for the National Poetry Series and the regional winner of the 2018 Hillary Gravendyk Prize.

praise for All The Emergency-Type Structures

Elizabeth Cantwell's All The Emergency-Type Structures is the first book I've read in a long time that feels like a direct transcription of the hellish beauty of living. 

—Rebecca Hazelton


The poems of Elizabeth Cantwell's breathtaking second collection ... are brilliant cries—and acts—of defiance against what seems to be our inevitable erasure from this planet. These poignant elegies-in-advance of apocalypse expose the ways even science has failed us, failed to provide the necessary paradigm to understand our own mortal recklessness. 

—David St. John

praise for Nights I Let The Tiger Get You

A kind of handbook of post-apocalyptic forms.

—David St. John


The surreal volleys in Elizabeth Cantwell's poems vividly capture the miniature catastrophes and cataclysms hidden within suburban America.

—Mark Irwin

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