Geographic Connection to Pennsylvania: Philadelphia, Philadelphia County
Daisy Fried is a poet, South Philadelphia resident to date, at author of collections, including Didn't Mean to Do It (2000) and My Brother Is Getting Arrested Again (2006).
Awards: Public Poetry Project, Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, Poetry Editor’s Award, William A. Schnader Print Media Award, Haverford College, University of Pennsylvania, Grace Hazard Conkling Writer-in-Residence at Smith College, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Fellow, Pew Charitable Trust Fellow, Leeway Foundation Fellow, Hodder Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, Pushcart Prize, Cohen Award, Poetry's Editor's Award
Daisy Fried was born in 1967 in Ithaca, New York. After earning her undergraduate degree from Swarthmore College, she married and moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Fried’s writing career began with journalism positions with a few Philadelphia papers. She’d written poetry here and there for personal enjoyment over the years, but it was her experience writing under deadlines that encouraged her to produce poetry on a consistent and professional level. Among her poetry collections include: My Brother Is Getting Arrested Again (2006) and Women's Poetry: Poems and Advice (2013). Her journalistic and poetry endeavors have won her numerous respected awards, including the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize (1999), the National Book Critics Circle Award (2007), and the Poetry Editor’s Award (2009). At the time of this writing, she teaches in the Warren Wilson College Low-Residency MFA program and lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter.
Born in 1967 in Ithaca, New York, Daisy Fried entered a stable, middle class family: two parents and three siblings. Fried’s father, Eric Fried, was a biologist and her mother, Joanna, stayed at home while she earned her master’s degree in education. According to Tracy Parker in Philadelphia Arts Writers, “Both parents were big readers, wrote novels, and kept their children—Daisy, her two brothers, and her sister, away from television in an effort to shield them from unwanted values.”
After growing up in a public school educational system, Fried eventually graduated from Swarthmore College in 1989. The recent graduate married and then moved to South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she began her writing career as a journalist with Philadelphia Weekly, the City Paper, Philadelphia Magazine, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and Newsday. According to Tracy Parker of the Philadelphia Arts Writers.com, an article entitled “Legal Freeze” won Fried first prize at the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s William A. Schnader Print Media Awards in 1997.
While working in journalism, Fried began to transfer the discipline of writing under deadlines to her poetry, which she’d written for her own enjoyment over the years. Fried attributes this change in her approach to poetry, coupled with befriending an encouraging fellow writer at the time, to the start of her poetry career. Soon thereafter, she wrote her first collection of poems, She Didn’t Mean to Do It, winner of the 1999 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize.
According to Parker, Fried did not read poetry until she began writing it and she has an interesting view on why people do not like poetry anymore: “She said she thinks one of the reasons poetry lacks an audience is that when teachers expose students to poetry, they present it as a puzzle with a secret meaning.” Since writing poetry, Fried has taught a few MFA creative writing courses at Warren Wilson College, Haverford College, and the University of Pennsylvania. In an interview conducted by the Pennsylvania Center for the Book, Fried clearly states that as far as her career beyond writing poetry goes, “I do not consider teaching my career but I teach when I need to make money.”
In 2006, Fried published her second poetry collection, My Brother is Getting Arrested Again. Of this collection, writers at Publishers’ Weekly said: “Winningly personal, the poems are nevertheless artful, with a light touch to balance their heavy subjects of social and racial injustice, closer perhaps to Grace Paley than to Philip Levine.” My Brother is Getting Arrested Again was also a finalist for the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award.
In recent years, Daisy Fried has moved from New Jersey to Massachusetts and back to Philadelphia. She was a former Grace Hazard Conkling Writer-in-Residence at Smith College and has won numerous awards, including: a fellowship from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference; a fellowship from the Pew Charitable Trust (1998); a fellowship from the Leeway Foundation (2001); the 2004 - 2005 Hodder Fellowship, awarded by Princeton University; aGuggenheim Fellowship; and a Pushcart Prize and the Cohen Award from Ploughshares.
Her poems have been published in such periodicals as the London Review of Books, The Nation, The New Republic, Poetry, The Threepenny Review and elsewhere. She also won the Editor’s Award from Poetry in 2009 for "Sing, God-Awful Muse," an essay about reading Paradise Lost and breastfeeding.
The plucky American poet and teacher August Klienzahler describes Fried’s collection, Women's Poetry: Poems and Advice (2013), as: “Passionate, nervy (as in ‘you've got a lot of . . . ’), telegraphic, indecorous, chewy, sharply observed, and smart; this is decidedly not Kathie Lee’s America we’re encountering in Daisy Fried’s wonderful new collection. Off come the pink happy goggles and on come the lights. Be unsettled, it’s quite all right. Women’s Poetry is bold, joyfully energetic poetry, and most invigorating, even if you’re a guy.”
Fried herself tells Marty Moss-Coane during a WHYY Radio Times interview that she had just had a baby (daughter, Maisie) when she’d started writing Women's Poetry and was wary of being typed as a “Mommy Poet.” With her husband’s advice to meet the project “head on,” Fried says the collection took off from there: “Once I had the title poem, Women’s Poetry, and once I had a sequence of poetry advice letters that I had put in, which is called Ask the Poet, I just felt it coming together and saying, you know, these poems are about women’s stuff, but they’re not ever only about that.”
At the time of this writing, Daisy Fried teaches in the Warren Wilson College Low-Residency MFA program, writes poetry book reviews, and lives in Philadelphia with her husband, Jim Quinn, and daughter, Maisie.
She Didn’t Mean to Do It. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000.
My Brother is Getting Arrested Again. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2006.
Women's Poetry: Poems and Advice. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013.