Alice Notley (born November 8, 1945) is an American poet. Notley came to prominence as a member of the second generation of the New York School of poetry—although she has always denied being involved with the New York School or any specific movement in general. Notley's early work laid both formal and theoretical groundwork for several generations of poets; she is considered a pioneering voice on topics like motherhood and domestic life.
Notley was born on November 8, 1945 in Bisbee, Arizona and grew up in Needles, California. Notley wrote extensively of her childhood and early life in her book Tell Me Again (Am here, 1982).
Notley left Needles for New York City to attend Barnard College in 1963, desiring an escape from the isolation of her hometown. She received a Bachelor of Arts from Barnard College in spring 1967 and left New York City that fall for the fiction program at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She was the only woman in her genre and one of two in the entire graduate writing department. Notley cites—in part—a reading by Robert Creeley as early inspiration for her writing more poetry. A close relationship with the poet Anselm Hollo, who was teaching at the program at that time, led to Notley leaving Iowa City for Morocco in 1968. Notley claims it was boring and returned to Iowa City where she met the poet Ted Berrigan who began as an instructor at the school that fall.
After Notley's graduation, she and Berrigan spent periods of time in New York City and Buffalo. During the winter of 1970–71, Notley and Berrigan lived on Long Island, where Notley wrote her first book, 165 Meeting House Lane (Twenty-Four Sonnets). The book took its title from the address of their home on Long Island and was published by Berrigan's C Press. It bears a dedication to James Schuyler and Anne and Fairfield Porter, who were also residing together on Long Island at the time. Notley also thanks Tom Clark who would go on to re-publish the sonnet cycle in his anthology All Stars. Notley and Berrigan spent the several months between Long Island and Chicago in Bolinas, California, which is where Berrigan officially printed 165 Meeting House Lane. Notley's second book, Phoebe Light, was published in 1973 by Bill Berkson's Bolinas-based press Big Sky.