Deborah’s new collection of poems, Soft Targets, is forthcoming, April 2019.

The Uses of the Body

Named one of 12 Favorite Poetry Books of 2015 by The New Yorker, one of the “16 Best Poetry Books of 2015″ by BuzzFeed, a “Book We Can’t Wait to Read” by Vogue, and in the top “8 New Books to Savor” by O, the Oprah Magazine.

“Landau’s killer wit evokes Dorothy Parker crossed with Sylvia Plath — leaping spark after spark, growing to deadly dark fire. “The Uses of the Body” is her best book, its acerbic tone (“The uses of the body, illusion”) interspersed with lines of grave and startling beauty.”

Los Angeles Times

“Landau has found an insidiously catchy music in The Uses of the Body. It’s like weaponized vers de société.”

 The New Yorker

“A thrilling meditation on the passages of a woman’s life.”

O, The Oprah Magazine

“Her arch observations create dark interior comedy that’s reminiscent of Virginia Woolf or Sylvia Plath….Get this book.”

–NPR, All Things Considered

“Like Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, but for girls (and women): Deborah Landau’s vividly relatable third collection, The Uses of the Body(Copper Canyon), reminds us that coming of age lasts well beyond adolescence. ”


“Deborah Landau’s The Uses of the Body is one of the most haunting collections of the year. Raw and honest yet tender, Landau’s lyrical poems gaze unflinchingly at desire, sex, motherhood, marriage, regret, and all the strange wonders and vulnerabilities of the body.”


“As freshly immediate as ever, award-winning poet Landau (The Last Usable Hour) reveals that “the uses of the body are manifold,” moving in four sections with a roughly chronological feel from wedding parties to flabby bodies around the pool to the realization “But we already did everything”—all with an underlying sense of urgency: “Life please explain.” As Landau explores her physical self and her sexuality, she’s tart, witty, fluid, direct, and brutally honest, and her work can be appreciated by any reader.”

Library Journal, Starred Review

“Landau’s occasional rhymes, sound patterns, repetitions, and rhythms—all impeccably executed…give the book its irresistible immediacy. The Uses of the Body is Landau’s most powerful and distinctive collection to date.”

                                                                                                 -Boston Review

“Forces of opposition rule in this gorgeous and unflinching third collection from Landau (The Last Usable Hour), director of NYU’s creative writing program. Powerful and vulnerable, spare in form and ardent in tone, her lyric sequences broach existential questions as sweeping and timeless as her language is particular and contemporary.”

–Publisher’s Weekly

“The collection unveils the seemingly programmatic nature of female adulthood, pillars of which — marriage, childbirth — Landau examines, subverting expectation and sentimentality at every turn….Landau shows a Plathian sensibility, a gaze whose honesty regarding the processes of womanhood, motherhood, and aging is as perceptive as it is unsettling.“

-Los Angeles Review of Books

“Deborah Landau is (a) fierce poet of desire…Her stunning third book, The Uses of the Body, offers a meditation on aging and loss: a series of elegant, long poems that sing, hesitate and haunt.”

-The San Francisco Chronicle

“Landau’s prose enlivens like metal paddles to the chest. “O blurred” she moans, “O tumble-rush of days we cannot catch.” When Emerson famously wrote, “cut these words and they would bleed,” he could have been speaking of Landau. Her poems leap from the page with uncanny mortal energy.”

-The Rumpus


Landau “taps into a national zeitgeist….Her childbirth poems rank alongside Mina Loy’s ‘‘Parturition,’’ Plath’s ‘‘Morning Song,’’ and…Berryman’s ‘‘Homage to Mistress Bradstreet.’’ The Uses of the Body is an exceptional volume that returns, in its last movement, to a moment of euphoric release.”

-The Gettysburg Review