Elizabeth Skurnick

Read a 30-page excerpt (PDF)

“Brilliant, compassionate, gorgeous and deeply funny, Lizzie Skurnick’s poems are concerned with what it means to be a human, and a woman, at the awkward beginning of the 21st century. The spun ‘I’ of Skurnick’s poems—from the bored wife of a dermatologist, to a slick-talking private eye, to the wisecracking heart—is one smart cookie, who observes the world brutally, and with love.”

Eliza Griswold, author of Wideawake Field

“Elizabeth Skurnick writes like Tom Waits trapped inside the body of a desperate housewife. Full of wry humor and libidinous musings, the poems in Check-In are both sharp and sly.”

John Lewis, Baltimore Magazine

“They snap shut with the satisfying click of the sleekest compact; they break open like perfectly shivered glass; they diagnose and recompose the heart’s and mind’s movements with a clinical yet sensual precision: these are Elizabeth Skurnick’s poems. This is erotically alert, urbane work, perfectly at home—which is to say, perfectly uncomfortable—in the ‘no-places’ of our times.”

Maureen N. McLane, author of Same Life

Check-In was the winning manuscript in the 2004 Caketrain Chapbook Competition, as judged by Jim Daniels.

About the Author

Elizabeth Skurnick is the columnist for Jezebel’s Fine Lines and has written on books and culture extensively for the New York Times Book Review, Times Sunday Styles, the LA Times,, The Washington Post and many other publications.


Cover image © 2008 Eliot Shepard. Used by permission. Barrow Street: “My Husband is the Husband of Five Other Women,” “My Husband is a Broker at Bear, Stearns”; The Delta Review: “Two Women”; The Iowa Review: “My Husband is a State Trooper,” “My Husband is a Dermatologist,” “My Husband Was a Spokesman for the President”; The Ledge: “Six Men Sestina”; The Melic Review: “Chastity in Gomorrah,” “Persephone In Hades”; New Haven Review: “Rake,” “Ring,” “Bill,” “Choose Your Preferences,” “Wait, There’s More,” “Ghazal (Morning),” “Ghazal (Evening),” “Ghazal (Afternoon),” “Hi-Tech Hotel”; The Pinch: “Something New”; Shade: “Grand Central, Track 23,” “Mt. Desert Island,” “Tyringham, 1998,” “Wild Kingdom,” “Tenants,” “Angel Eyes,” “Check-In.” Text © 2005, 2008 Elizabeth Skurnick.