Life Story

Laura Swearingen-Steadwell (Ms. Yes Yes if you’re nasty) is a poet, editor, essayist, storyteller, teaching artist, and more. The wielder of a woodwind voice, she loves collaborating with other singers and musicians, and she regularly incorporates singing into her performances.


Laura’s second collection of poems, All Blue So Late (Northwestern, December 2017) won the 2016 Cave Canem Northwestern University Poetry Prize. She was a finalist in 2010’s Women of the World Poetry Slam, and she has toured internationally with her performances and workshops.

Laura is a graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, and she adores both the academic and populist aspects of poetry. Over the past decade, she has held positions as an editor for PEN America: A Journal for Writers and Readers, Muzzle magazine, and Four Way Review. She has contributed her poetry, criticism, and essays to countless journals, sites, &c.

Among the many the book-related jobs she has held, Laura maintains that bookbinding was her favorite.