Karen Volkman was born in Miami, Florida, and received her B.A. from New College in Sarasota, Florida, and an M.A. from Syracuse University. She lived in Brooklyn for five years, teaching at NYU, the New School, and the Unterberg Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y, as well as working as a poet-in-the-schools with Teachers & Writers Collaborative. She has held visiting positions in M.F.A. programs at the University of Alabama, the University of Pittsburgh, and Columbia College Chicago, and was the Springer Poet in Residence at University of Chicago from 2001-2003. She is currently on the M.F.A. faculty at the University of Montana in Missoula.
Her first book, Crash’s Law, was a National Poetry Series selection, published by Norton in 1996. Her second book, Spar, received the Iowa Poetry Prize and the 2002 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets.
She has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Akademie Schloss Solitude, the Poetry Society of America, and the Camargo Foundation.
Her concerns are with livid language, freedom and constraint, “specificity or stuttered plot.”
BOOKS OF POETRY
Crash’s Law (New York: Norton, 1996); Spar (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2002)
╬Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English
Sign or cipher paints the green bird green.
Wipe the wet outer of the eye, the white.
They say: “it’s dawn.” Morning eats the night,
Morrow multiple, and worlds between,
and stagnant waters reeking in their sheen.
View this. And do. The harrow in the heat,
the tongue that spills its supple tender meat.
The mood machine will click cerulean
systems into spasms, a care elate;
specificity or stuttered plot.
It is no silence that the bliss-birds blight.
Or night-notes failing, humming weed or wait.
Cache cache, sing the figures, the weep is what
nerves their wire whirring, to ignite.
Reprinted from Crowd V, nos. 1-2 (2005). Copyright ©2005 by Karen Volkman.