Robin Beth Schaer was born and raised in New York. She received a B.A. in Religion from Colgate University and an M.F.A. in Writing from Columbia University’s School of the Arts.

Her first book of poetry, Shipbreaking, received the Robert Dana-Anhinga Poetry Prize and was published in August 2015 by Anhinga Press. Shipbreaking was named one of BuzzFeed’s “Best Poetry Books” and “Best Literary Debuts” of 2015. The starred review for Shipbreaking in Publishers Weekly declared: "In Schaer’s voluminous, shipwrecked world, everything is beautiful and no one is safe. This is a gorgeous debut from a smart, incisive young poet.”

Schaer has received fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell Colony, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Saltonstall Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her work has appeared in Tin House, Bomb Magazine, Paris Review, Denver Quarterly, Washington Square, and Guernica, among others.

For five years, she worked at the Academy of American Poets, directing the online programs. She has performed readings and led panels throughout the country, including recent appearances at Litquake San Francisco, Brooklyn Book Festival, Texas Book Festival, New York University, Sarah Lawrence College, The Loft’s Wordplay Festival, and the AWP Conference.

She has taught writing at Columbia University, Marymount Manhattan College, Cooper Union, The New School, and the College of Wooster. During the summers of 2009 and 2010, she worked as a deckhand aboard the Tall Ship Bounty, a 180-foot full-rigged ship lost in Hurricane Sandy in 2012. She lives in Ohio with her family and is a Visiting Assistant Professor in Creative Writing at Oberlin College.


Available for readings, workshops, private instruction, and manuscript consultation. Reading guides and review copies are available to teachers interested in using Shipbreaking in the classroom. Skype lessons and email interviews can be scheduled with students. Contact for more information.



Built in 1960 in Lunenburg, Novia Scotia, the 180-foot, three-masted ship Tall Ship Bounty was originally commissioned by the film studio Metro-Goldwyn Mayer for the 1962 film Mutiny on the Bounty starring Marlon Brando. She was constructed as a replica of the infamous HMS Bounty which sailed to Tahiti on a botanical mission in 1787 under Captain William Bligh and was commandeered during a mutiny led by Fletcher Christian. Bounty sank off the coast of North Carolina during Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2012. The Coast Guard rescued 14 crewmembers from life rafts during the storm. Captain Robin Walbridge and crewmember Claudene Christian were both lost in the wreck.