Melissa Balmain

Melissa Balmain

  • Instructor

BA, Princeton University

Office Location
419 Morey Hall
Web Address

Research Overview

Melissa Balmain is the author of more than 2,300 published articles, books, columns, essays, poems, and humor pieces. Her subjects range from popular culture to parenthood, from murder to mime. Since 2012, she has edited Light (formerly Light Quarterly), America’s longest-running journal of comic poetry. Publications that have featured her writing include The American Bystander, Ecotone, The Hopkins Review, Los Angeles Times, McSweeney’s, Miami Herald, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Poetry Daily, Points in Case, Rattle, Slackjaw, Success, and The Washington Post

Selected Publication Covers

Selected Publications

  • Satan Talks to His Therapist (Paul Dry Books, 2023) — poetry collection
  • The Witch Demands a Retraction: Fairy Tale Reboots for Adults (Humorist Books, 2021), illustrated by Ron Barrett. 
  • Walking in on People (Able Muse Press, 2014)—poetry collection, winner of the 2013 Able Muse Book Award
  • Just Us: Adventures and Travels of a Mother and Daughter (Faber & Faber, 1998)—memoir
  • Poems in Extreme Formal Poems and Extreme Sonnets II (Houston Publishing, 2021 and 2022); From the Finger Lakes: a Memoir Anthology (Cayuga Lake Books, 2021); Lost Love and Houses and Homes Forever (Sampson Low, 2020 and 2022); Love Affairs at the Villa Nelle (Kelsay Books, 2018); Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse (Lost Horse Press, 2017); The Great American Wise Ass Poetry Anthology (Lamar University Press, 2016); Bared: Contemporary Poetry and Art on Bras and Breasts (Les Femmes Folles Books, 2016); Killer Verse: Poems of Murder and Mayhem (Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets, 2011); The Iron Book of New Humorous Verse (Iron Books, 2010).
  • Articles and essays in Common Places: Integrated Reading and Writing (McGraw-Hill, 2019); Live Happy: Ten Practices for Choosing Joy (HarperOne, 2016); How to Fit a Car Seat on a Camel (Seal Press, 2008); and Unbuttoned (Harvard Common Press, 2009). 
  • Links to a number of her other writings can be found at