Ellen Kombiyil is a poet, educator, editor, and publisher originally from Syracuse, New York. Her first book, Histories of the Future Perfect, launched at AWP in April 2015, and received critical acclaim in reviews and was featured in Sundress Authors’ Picks for Best Reads of 2015 and Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Recommended Reading for 2016. Her micro-chapbook Avalanche Tunnel was published by Ryga in 2016 in a hand-numbered limited edition of 100. Ellen co-founded The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective, a mentorship model literary press for emerging poets from India and the diaspora.
Ellen’s poetry has been nominated multiple times for Pushcart Prizes and has been widely published in journals such as The Minnesota Review, New Ohio Review, Nimrod, North American Review, Salt Hill, and Ploughshares. She is a two-time winner of the Mary M. Fay Poetry Award from Hunter College, a recipient of an Academy of American Poets college prize, and was awarded the Nancy Dean Medieval Prize for an essay on the acoustic quality of Chaucer’s poetics.
She is passionate about both scholarship and writing, and loves most nurturing emerging writers. As an adjunct lecturer at Hunter College, she works with undergraduates to hone their craft, trust their voices, and push their own boundaries with experiment and play. As a freelance mentor and through her editorial work at The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective, she helps poets realize their vision for longer book-length projects through rigorous line edits/asking questions of the poems, to organizational structure and narrative arc of the book.
Ellen is a graduate of The University of Chicago (AB ’94) and Hunter College (MFA 2018). From 2002 to 2014 she lived in India so that she could be closer to her husband’s family and raise her children to intimately know that part of their cultural ancestry. She currently lives in New York City and teaches at Hunter College.