Alicia Cohen was born in 1970 in San Diego, California, and grew up a stone’s throw from the Pacific Ocean. She attended Reed College, in Portland, Oregon, where she began reading Reed alumni poets, including Philip Whalen and Leslie Scalapino. She helped run a college poetry magazine, Small Press Collective, and wrote her senior thesis on the poetry of George Oppen.
She enrolled in the Poetics Program at State University of New York, Buffalo, in 1994, studying with Charles Bernstein, Susan Howe, Robert Creeley, Jill Robbins, Keith Sanborne, and Tony Conrad. There she established and edited a journal of in-process manuscripts, Curricle Patterns. She received her PhD, with a minor in Media Studies, writing a dissertation on experimental realisms and the sense of the visible in Emily Dickinson, Robert Duncan, Leslie Scalapino, and Jack Spicer.
In 2000 she returned to Portland and helped found and run the collective arts space Pacific Switchboard.
She has published two prior books of poems, bEAR (Handwritten Press, 2000) and Debts and Obligations (O Books, 2008), which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. In 2004 she produced Northwest Inhabitation Log, a multimedia installation and opera. Recently, she has lived in Athens, Greece, where some of these poems were written and presently she is resident in Bergen, Norway, with Tom Fisher and their two children, Pascale and Harold.