| Elisa New, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, moved to the Maryland suburbs when she was five years old where she grew up near Washington D.C. Her father, Ronald New, worked in applied physics and computer science while her mother, Joan New, worked as a Washington area party planner. She has one younger brother, Andy New. Upon finishing a gap year in Israel, New attended Brandeis University, majoring in English and graduating summa cum laude in 1980. She entered Columbia University in 1981, receiving her M.A. in 1982 and her Ph.D in English 1988; her dissertation concerned American poetry and religion. While a graduate student, New taught courses at Columbia College and Queens College and also at the University of Miami. Finishing her PhD during a two year stint in Miami, where she travelled with her first husband, Fred Levine, New had her first child, her daughter, Yael, in 1986 and then in 1988 took her first full time academic job at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1991, she had a second daughter, Orli, and in 1992, her first book, The Regenerate Lyric: Theology and Innovation in American Poetry was published by Cambridge University Press. Her third daughter, Maya, was born in 1996, and in 1999, her second book, The Line's Eye: Poetic Experience, American Sight was published by Harvard University Press. In 1999, Elisa New moved from the University to Pennsylvania to Boston, where she teaches courses in classic American literature in Harvard's Department of English. New's deep fascination with American urban and immigrant life, with American Jewish literature and the impact of the
Holocaust has aways been reflected in her writing. Over the the years she has published essays on twentieth century Jewish culture for such magazines as The New Republic, Tikkun and Prooftexts and Contemporary Literature. Works forthcoming or in progress include a book, Where the Meanings Are: Studies in the Literature of New England, a collection of new and previously published essays on the figure of the Jewish runaway and a classroom anthology of Jewish American Literature, which she is co-authoring with her daughter, Yael Levine. In preparation, too, are articles on Susan Howe, Stanley Cavell and Henry David Thoreau, and one on American Victorians. Finally, New has begun work on a novel, an academic murder mystery, titled Memorial Minute. Late in the summer of her third year as Professor at Harvard New was introduced to Harvard's brand new President, Larry Summers. Four years and a few months later, the couple married in the dining room of the Harvard's President's house, Elmwood. Under the chuppah with them, were their six children Yael, Pam, Ruth, Orli, Harry and Maya. Currently, New now divides her time between their home in Brookline Massachusetts, where she continues to teach full time, and Washington DC, where her husband works in the Obama White House.