Paisley Rekdal is the author of a book of essays, The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee; the hybrid photo-text memoir, Intimate; and seven books of poetry: A Crash of Rhinos; Six Girls Without Pants; The Invention of the Kaleidoscope; Animal Eye, a finalist for the 2013 Kingsley Tufts Prize and winner of the UNT Rilke Prize; Imaginary Vessels, finalist for the 2018 Kingsley Tufts Prize; Nightingale, winner of the 2020 Washington State Book Award for Poetry; and West: A Translation, which was longlisted for the 2023 National Book Award in Poetry. Her newest works of nonfiction include a book-length essay, The Broken Country: On Trauma, a Crime, and the Continuing Legacy of Vietnam and Appropriate: A Provocation. She guest edited Best American Poetry 2020. A pedagogy book is forthcoming: Real Toads: Imaginary Gardens: How to Read and Teach a Poem (W.W. Norton).
Her work has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Fellowship, a Fulbright Fellowship, a Civitella Ranieri Residency, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, Pushcart Prizes (2009, 2013), Narrative's Poetry Prize, the AWP Creative Nonfiction Prize, and various state arts council awards. Her poems and essays have appeared in or are forthcoming from The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, Poetry, The New Republic, Tin House, the Best American Poetry series (2012, 2013, 2017, 2018, 2019), and on National Public Radio, among others.
She is a Distinguished Professor at the University of Utah, where she directs the American West Center. She is also the creator and editor of West: A Translation, as well as the community web projects Mapping Literary Utah and Mapping Salt Lake City. Between 2017-2022, she served as Utah's Poet Laureate, receiving a 2019 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship. She currently serves as poetry editor for High Country News, and as co-chair of PEN America's Utah Chapter.