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Work Samples

Chaos Theories excerpt.doc

This sample includes five poems from the collection, Chaos Theories. Of this collection, Michael Collier writes: When Elizabeth Hazen declares, “I want to understand our need/for headway,” it’s significant that she offers an image for progress, motion, or time, and it’s also characteristic of this poet’s “need” to ground her ideas in the body, which she tells us, “holds more mysteries/than the mouth can bring itself to speak.” And yet she does find speech for the mysteries and paradoxes of existence, speech she puts down in expertly cadenced lines that “produce the proper notes” of a restless imagination looking to find the “absent whole” in human experience.
Microsoft Office document icon Chaos Theories excerpt.doc

Girls Like You Excerpt.doc

Circling Through lattice around the porch of a condemned house, a feral cat sizes me up. A barstool’s metal foot scrapes the tacky floor, expletive cracking the din. Every street corner blinks delicious permission: . . .
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Pair Shaped Poems.doc

In childhood games of hide and seek we left / our shoes as decoys at the foot of floor- / length drapes. It is an act of faith, beginning // feet-first, but is invention recklessness? / Is misdirection a lie? How easily / we fill in any blanks, as if shapelessness // and space are to be remedied. . .
Microsoft Office document icon Pair Shaped Poems.doc

The Road to Hell.doc

Some mornings my son, nearly six and a half years old, wakes up raging over the injustices of the world: Why does he have to eat green vegetables? Why does everything he wants cost “too much money”? Why doesn’t his dad live with us? Why, as he once phrased it from his booster in the backseat of our car, is life so hard? Devastated that I had failed already to guard him from this truth, I had little comfort to offer. Finding my own life a series of difficult navigations and compromises that leave all parties feeling deprived, I have struggled throughout my adult life to reconcile the lessons I learned as a child – all dreams are achievable, hard work always pays off, people get what they deserve – with the reality of my experience. The science of these teachings, quite simply, doesn’t play out. So what, then, do I tell my son? That intentions don’t matter? That the universe is random and our place in it negligible? That it is virtually impossible to predict what will happen, and even harder to know what will make us happy?
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About Elizabeth

Baltimore County

Elizabeth Hazen is a poet and essayist whose work has appeared in Best American Poetry 2013, Southwest Review, The Threepenny Review, The Normal School, and other journals. She teaches English at Calvert School in Baltimore, Maryland. Chaos Theories is her first full-length poetry collection.

Chaos Theories - Poetry Collection

"The poems in Elizabeth Hazen’s debut collection, Chaos Theories, spring from a unique collusion of science and art in one poet’s heart and mind. In these often elegiac poems, Hazen explores many forms of love – between children, parents and grandparents; between siblings and friends; between lovers who marry and who divorce. The losses depicted here are explored with a powerful use of poetic language and form, and survival becomes another form of understanding, a way of seeing ourselves and others not as guilty or innocent, good or bad, but as complex, sometimes thwarted beings who are always striving for more wisdom, more empathy, more light. Hazen’s language is elegant, her point of view unflinching, her voice mature and warm.

"Science in these poems is both information and consolation, a way of untangling chaos, of seeing more clearly and cleanly. Hazen is a poet who understands that we are all searching in various ways to make order of our lives and loves, and who crafts poems that can aid us in that search. This is an astonishing debut collection from a poet simultaneously tenderhearted and wise, who brings hard-won and beautifully wrought insights to every page."

Girls Like You - Poetry Collection in progress

My current project, a poetry collection titled Girls Like You, focuses on female identity and examines the contradictory personas women are expected - by society as well as by ourselves - to adopt. The women in these poems both fear and provoke the male gaze, reconciling themselves to the specters of violence that such attentions may bring. These poems pose questions about the complicated and frightening dynamics that define female power and identity, and they tell the story of a woman finding her voice.

Pair Shaped Collaboration

Pair Shaped is a project that puts artists working in different media together and asks them to collaborate. According to their mission statement: “We support art as a creative dialogue across all disciplines and mediums. Through critical engagement with each other’s output and practice, our contributors take part in developing original series of works for greater community discussion.”

For my collaboration, completed in 2015, I was paired with west coast visual artist, Brooks Dierdorff. The resulting project yields four poems and four works of art including photographs, a sculpture, and a painting. Inevitably my obsessions with visibility and invisibility, particularly relating to female identity, emerged as I meditated on and responded to Brooks’ work.


There are times when the medium of poetry isn’t quite right for what I want to say. In the past several years, I have turned to the essay form in these moments, usually writing and reflecting on themes similar to those that I explore in poems, but allowing myself more space on the page and fewer formal restrictions. These essays tend to be meditations on relationships, but also draw inspiration (as do my poems) from science and the natural world.

  • Thanksgiving on Mars

    Image from the launch of Curiosity, about which I wrote in an essay, "Thanksgiving on Mars." The essay describes the first holiday after my divorce and appears on Baltimore Fishbowl.
  • Lessons from a Turtle

    Image accompanying essay "Lessons from a Turtle," which appears on Baltimore Fishbowl.

Writers Under the Influence

Writers Under the Influence is a poetry series that I started with Benn Ray and Rachel Whang of Atomic Books. Since fall 2013, we have hosted poets from near and far, at the beginning of their careers and well-established as writers. They share recent work and discuss the influences -- other writers, artists, films, politics, pop culture -- that have had an impact on their poetic subject, style, and process. Poets who have read in the series include Mary Jo Salter, Tadeusz Dabrowski, Jane Satterfield, Ned Balbo, Carrie Fountain, and many others. Our goal is to bring poets together to support one another and collaborate, as well as to share their words with the people of Baltimore. The series continues to grow in popularity.

Connect with Elizabeth

Elizabeth's Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.