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Gjertrud Schnackenberg was born in 1953 in Tacoma, Washington. Her retrospective Supernatural Love: Poems 1976-2000 (Bloodaxe Books, 2001) draws on four collections, Portraits and Elegies (1982), The Lamplit Answer (1985), A Gilded Lapse of Time (1995) and The Throne of Labdacus (2000).
She has won many literary awards, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rome Prize for Literature, and an Award in Literature from the American Academy for Arts and Letters. She has been a Christensen Visiting Fellow at St Catherine's College, Oxford, and a visiting scholar at the Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts.