Biography of Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn
Flynn at Lannan Poetry Series
Flynn at Lannan Poetry Series
Born (1960-01-26) January 26, 1960 (age 59)
Scituate, Massachusetts, US
OccupationAuthor, poet, playwright
Notable works
  • The Reenactments (2013)
  • Another Bullshit Night in Suck City (2004)
  • Some Ether (2000)
Notable awards
  • Guggenheim Fellowship
  • Witter Bynner Fellowship
  • PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award​ for Poetry
Lili Taylor (m. 2009)

Nick Flynn (born January 26, 1960) is an American writer, playwright, and poet. His most recent publication is The Reenactments (2013), which chronicles Flynn's experience during the making of Being Flynn, a film based on his acclaimed 2004 memoir, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City. Flynn is also the author of three collections of poetry, including Some Ether, which won the inaugural PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry in 1999, and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

Early life

Nick Flynn was raised by his mother in Scituate, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston.[citation needed]

Flynn had no contact with his father throughout most of his childhood and adolescence as his parents separated when he was six months old. As a child, he was discouraged to follow a writing career because his father had identified himself as a writer to his mother when they first met. Flynn claimed a reason for his parents' separation was his father's "delusion of greatness and identifying it very directly with being an artist." Flynn first became an electrician after graduating high school, owing to the stigma associated with being a writer. When he was 22 years old, his mother committed suicide, and Flynn left his childhood home soon after.


At 27, Flynn was unexpectedly reunited with his father at the Pine Street Inn, a homeless shelter in Boston, when his then-homeless father showed up as a 'guest.' He examined his relationship with his father, as well as the suicide of his mother, in Another Bullshit Night in Suck City. Flynn explored his decision to have a child in his second memoir,The Ticking Is The Bomb. Following its publication, he wrote a book of poetry,The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands, which continued on similar themes. The Reenactments is the final book in Flynn's trilogy of memoirs.

Flynn's initial focus was on poetry, and he held a fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, before moving to New York to pursue his Master of Arts in Poetry at New York University. He was a member of Columbia University's Writing Project, in which he served as an educator and consultant in New York public schools. He currently teaches Creative Writing at the University of Houston.

Flynn's poems, essays, and non-fiction have been featured in The New Yorker, Paris Review, National Public Radio's This American Life, and The New York Times Book Review, and have been translated into 14 languages.

Personal life

In 2009, he married his long-time partner, actress Lili Taylor. Flynn and Taylor live in New York with their daughter.


  • 2014 Erikson Institute Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media
  • 2005 PEN/Martha Albrand Award for the Art of the Memoir
  • 2001 Guggenheim Fellowship
  • 2001 Witter Bynner Fellowship
  • 2001 Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship
  • 1999 Discovery/The Nation Award for his poem, Bag of Mice
  • 1999 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry, Some Ether
  • 1999 Larry Levis Prize (Virginia Commonwealth University)




  • Some Ether: Poems (Graywolf Press, 2000) .mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:block;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:block;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}ISBN 978-1555973032
  • Blind Huber: Poems (Graywolf Press, 2002) ISBN 978-1555973735
  • The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands (Graywolf Press, 2011) ISBN 978-1555976330
  • My Feelings: Poems (Graywolf Press, 2015) ISBN 978-1555977108

List of poems



First published


Cartoon physics, part 1

Josh Neufeld published drawings inspired by the poem in Crossroads magazine, 2001.

The day Lou Reed died


Flynn, Nick (November 25, 2013). "The day Lou Reed died". The New Yorker. 89 (38): 102–103.


  • Alice Invents a Little Game and Alice Always Wins: A Play (Faber & Faber, 2008)


  • Another Bullshit Night in Suck City: A Memoir (W. W. Norton & Company, 2004) ISBN 0-393-05139-0
  • The Ticking Is the Bomb: A Memoir (W. W. Norton & Company, 2010) ISBN 978-0393338867
  • The Reenactments: A Memoir (W. W. Norton & Company, 2013) ISBN 978-0393344356


  • A Note Slipped Under the Door: Teaching from Poems We Love (Stenhouse Publishers, 2000, co-authored with Shirley McPhillips) ISBN 978-1571103208


  • Artistic collaborator and field poet, Darwin's Nightmare (2004)[better source needed]
  • Executive producer and artistic collaborator, Being Flynn (2011)

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