Perillo, who wrote award-winning poetry as well as essays and short fiction, lived for several decades with multiple sclerosis.
OLYMPIA, Wash. — Lucia Perillo, an award-winning author and Pulitzer Prize finalist, has died at the age of 58.
The publishing company Copper Canyon Press, in Port Townsend, reported Sunday that Perillo passed away Oct. 16 in Olympia, where she had lived for many years. The cause of her death was not immediately known.
Perillo authored several collections of poetry, including “Inseminating the Elephant” in 2009, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and winner of the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry from the Library of Congress. Her most recent collection, “Time Will Clean the Carcass Bones: Selected and New Poems,” was published earlier this year by Copper Canyon Press. She was also the author of a book of essays, “I’ve Heard the Vultures Singing,” and a short story collection, “Happiness is a Chemical on the Brain.”
The MacArthur Genius Fellow was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1988 and published her first book a year later, entitled “Dangerous Life.”
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Perillo was a professor at Syracuse University, where she received her master of arts in English. She also taught at Southern Illinois University, Saint Martin’s University, and in the Warren Wilson College master of fine arts program.