Karla Anne Kelsey, Ph.D.
Department: English & Creative Writing
Professor of English & Creative Writing
- MFA, Univ of Iowa
- BA, Univ of California Los Angeles
- PHD, Univ of Denver
Professor of English & Creative Writing
- Contact Information
Office LocationWriters Institute - Rm 15
Karla Kelsey is the author of four full-length collections of poetry, most recently Blood Feather (Tupelo Press, 2020) and a collection of speculative essays, Of Sphere (Essay Press, 2017). Poems and prose have appeared in journals such as Bomb, Fence, Conjunctions, New American Writing, The Boston Review, The Colorado Review, The Denver Quarterly, Verse, and Tupelo Quarterly. Her critical essays on poetry, poetics, and pedagogy have appeared in anthologies and literary journals. From 2010-2017 she edited The Constant Critic, Fence Books' online journal of poetry reviews. With Aaron McCollough she currently co-publishes SplitLevel Texts, a press specializing in book-length hybrid genre projects. A recipient of a Fulbright Scholar Award, she is Professor of Creative Writing at Susquehanna University's Writers Institute. More information can be found on her website.
Karla Kelsey on teaching at SU: “I have been teaching in the creative writing program at Susquehanna since 2005. One of the main reasons it is so special to me has to do with the fact that I grew up a serious dancer and just adored being in the ballet studio. While writers have a more isolated artistic practice than dancers, being at SU is close to that studio experience. I love being a practicing writer among other writers, colleagues and students alike. If you want to have your creative spirit nurtured, creative writing at Susquehanna is for you!”
Tupelo Press, forthcoming
An actress. A thinker. A filmmaker. Built of archives and the imagination, the three fictive women narrating Blood Feather articulate a feminist philosophy of art-making and life-making for our fractured world. Kelsey engages the given by calling on female artists of the past—Lilian Gish, Maya Deren, Maria Tallchief, and the architect Eileen Gray, among others—to join this drama of character and form. Here, structures of the past and ambitions for our future shape Blood Feather’s personae as they confirm and resist, collude with and attempt to reinvent, the cultural and personal histories that surround them.
Essay Press, 2017
Selected by Carla Harryman for the Essay Press Prize
“Through her challenge to dug-in patriarchal logics, Kelsey choreographs a contemporary vision that follows in the experimental tradition of earlier modern feminist essays, including Virginia Woolf's Three Guineas, H.D.'s Tribute to Freud, and Hélène Cixous' ‘The Laugh of the Medusa.’ Kelsey brings an urgency to this tradition through her attention to the destructive human
impact on the earth, ecological crisis, and her vision of another way to inhabit the world.”
Omnidawn Press, 2014
“In answer to impossible questions I borrow the story of bones burned.” In this astonishing and carefully structured “double book” Karla Kelsey interweaves an extensive mediation on The Juniper Tree with a lyric exploration of trauma, violence, and memory. There is no way to have one without the other: cultural artifact, individual story—Kelsey shows us how these realms are not divisible…I’ve never read anything like it and it’s changed me.
Ahsahta Press, 2010
Ahsahta Press, 2006
Selected by Carolyn Forché for the Sawtooth Poetry Prize
“Kelsey writes what it is to know, of ‘what we become/ when the universe is seen in lights of its generation.’ We are, in this work, in the midst of things, and as Plato's Socrates has it, ‘the eye becomes filled with vision and now sees, and becomes, not vision but a seeing eye.’”
Ph.D. Literature and Creative Writing. University of Denver. Denver, CO. May 2005.
M.F.A. Poetry. Iowa Writers Workshop. Iowa City, IA. May 2001.
B.A. Literature and Philosophy. UCLA. Los Angeles, CA. December 1999.
Susquehanna University, Department of English and Creative Writing
2018 to Present Professor
2011 to 2018 Associate Professor
2006 to 2011 Assistant Professor
2005-2006 Visiting Assistant Professor
Fall 2012 Visiting Assistant Professor, Eötvös Collegium, Budapest Department of American Studies
Spring 2011 Fulbright Visiting Assistant Eötvös Loránd University, Professor Budapest Department of American Studies
TEACHING AND RESEARCH INTERESTS
Poetry / Poetics / Women’s Experimental Writing / Ecopoetics / Image-Text Writing / Lyric Prose / Hybrid Writing / Critical Theory / Small Press Publishing
Blood Feather. North Adams, MA: Tupelo Press. Forthcoming Fall 2020.
A Conjoined Book. Richmond, CA: Omnidawn Press, 2014.
Iteration Nets. Boise, ID: Ahsahta Press, 2010.
Knowledge, Forms, the Aviary. Boise, ID: Ahsahta Press, 2006.
Selected by Carolyn Forché for the 2005 Sawtooth Prize.
Of Sphere. Laramie, WY. Essay Press. Forthcoming November 2017.
Selected by Carla Harryman for the 2016 Essay Press Prize.
Into the Eyes of Lost Storms. Fayetteville, AR: Narwhal Press, 2009.
Three Movements. Northampton, MA: Pilot Press, 2009.
Little Dividing Doors in the Mind. Santa Fe, NM: Noemi Press, 2005.
SELECT PUBLICATIONS IN ANTHOLOGIES
Poetry in Anthologies
“from winter dark with shades of blue.” February: an anthology. Ed. Paul Legault. St. Louis, MO: Washington University Department of Creative Writing, 2015: 6 pages.
“from A Conjoined Book.” The Arcadia Project. Ed. Joshua Corey and G.C. Waldrep. Boise ID: Boise State University Ahsahta Press, 2012: 114-120.
“Sonnet 114” The Sonnets: Rewriting Shakespeare. Ed. Paul Legault and Sharmila Cohen, Callicoon NY: Nightboat Books, 2012: 45.
Hybrid Genre Work in Journals
“An Otherwise of Consciousness.” Jacket 2. April 2018:
“from The Budapest Notebooks.” Tupelo Quarterly. Issue 10. October, 2016:
“Of Sphere.” Verse. Vol. 31, 2015: 163-193.
“—echoache.” Evening Will Come: A Monthly Journal of Poetics. Issue 47. November, 2014: http://www.thevolta.org/ewc47-kkelsey-p1.html.
“Interval.” Web Conjunctions. 09.03.2013, 2013: http://conjunctions.com/webcon/kelsey13.htm
“A Practice in Beveled Light.” English Language Notes. Department of English, University of Colorado at Boulder. 50.01 Spring/Summer, 2012: 29-32.
PUBLICATIONS: CRITICAL PROSE
Prose: Chapters in Books
“Barbara Guest’s Seeking Air.” The Poet’s Novel. Ed. Laynie Browne. Nightboat Books, Forthcoming 2020.
“To Gesture at Absence: A Reading-With.” Anne Carson: Ecstatic Lyre. Ed. Joshua Marie Wilkinson, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2015: 88-93.
“Articulations of Artifice in the Work of Mary Jo Bang.” Eleven More America
Woman Poets in the 21st Century. Ed. Claudia Rankine and Lisa Sewell
Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2012: 34-56.
“Lineation in the Land of the New Sentence.” A Broken Thing: Poets on the Line. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2010.
“Teaching Writing through the Sonnet Tradition.” Poets on Teaching ed. Joshua Marie Wilkinson. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2010.
Recent Criticism, Essays, and Reviews
“Fantastic Women.” Bomb. May, 2020
“Madeline Gins.” Hyperallergic. May, 2020
“Lyn Hejinian’s Life on Mars.” Hyperallergic. August, 2019
“Frederike Mayröcker’s Scardanelli.” Hyperallergic. December, 2018
“Rewriting Trauma.” Review of Catherine Taylor. Los Angeles Review of Books
Blog. April 2018. https://blog.lareviewofbooks.org/reviews/rewriting-trauma
“Missing Contexts: The Pioneering Work of Anne Halprin, Simone Forti, and
Yvonne Rainer.” Bomb Magazine. September 2017:
RECENT GRANTS, HONORS, AWARDS
2019 Beinecke Library, Yale: H.D. Fellowship in English and American Literature
2019 Susquehanna University: John C. Horn Award for Scholarship and Service
2017 Susquehanna University: University Research Grant (Course Release)
2016 Essay Press Prize (Carla Harryman, Judge)
2014-2015 Susquehanna University: Faculty Research Grant (Course Release)
2013-2014 Susquehanna University Mini Grant (Travel to Bucharest, Romania for research)
Spring 2012 Susquehanna University Faculty Research Grant (Course Release)
Fall 2011 Susquehanna University Mini Grant (Travel to Budapest, Hungary for research)
Spring 2011 Fulbright Lectureship. ELTE University. Budapest, Hungary
Spring 2010 Poetry Society of America Cecil Hemley Award for a poem on a philosophical theme (Forrest Gander, Judge)
SELECTED REVIEWS OF WORK
Reviews: A Conjoined Book
Shaw, Kent. “A Conjoined Book by Karla Kelsey.” The Rumpus. April 9, 201
Landry, Benjamin. “A Conjoined Book.” The Colorado Review. May 14, 2014.
Savich, Zach. “A Conjoined Book.” Black Ocean Micro Review Monday. August 4, 2014.
“A Conjoined Book: Aftermath//Become Tree, Become Bird.” Publisher’s Weekly. April 2014.
Kyle, Catherine. “A Conjoined Book.” Verse Magazine. Monday September 22, 2014.
Reviews: Iteration Nets
Colorado Review. Damiani, Jesse. “Iteration Nets.” Vol. 39, No. 2.
Poetry Northwest. Savich, Zach. “Forms that Change.”
Reviews: Knowledge, Forms, the Aviary
Cutbank. Svalina, Mathias. “Knowledge, Forms, the Aviary.” November 4, 2006.
Bookslut. Cronk, Olivia. “Knowledge, Forms, the Aviary.” June 2006.
CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS AND READINGS
Selected Poetry Readings 2014-Present
Bucknell University. Lewisburg, PA, October 2019.
University of Eastern Michigan. Yipsilanti, MI, February 2018.
University of Denver, Denver, CO, November 2017.
McNally Jackson Books. New York, NY, October 2017.
Poet’s House. New York, NY, October 2015.
Unnameable Books. Brooklyn, NY, July 2015.
Iowa Writers Workshop. Iowa City, IA, February 2015.
Fort Gondo Arts Collective. St Louis, MO, November 2014.
Shippensburg University. Shippensburg, PA, November, 2014.
Poet’s House. New York, NY, October 2014.
Belladonna Collective. Brooklyn, NY, October 2014.
Fall for the Book Festival. George Mason University, Fairfax VA, September 2014.
Conference Presentations (Poetics/Criticism)
“The Radical Bodies of Bernadette Mayer's Desires and Gail Scott's My Paris: A Tissuing.” Communal Presence: New Narrative Writing Today. Berkley, CA, October 2017.
“On Claudia Rankine’s Citizen.” Plymouth University Poetry and Philosophy Conference. Plymouth, England, May 2016.
“On Editing Denver Quarterly.” Associated Writing Programs Conference. St Paul, Minneapolis, April 2015.
“Ethics and Poetics: an Ecological Mode.” Associated Writing Programs Conference. Seattle, WA, March 2014.
Present Split Level Texts
I co-founded SplitLevel Texts in 2011 with Aaron McCollough. We publish two full-length books each year in print editions. The books are experimental poetry and hybrid genre works that interrogate the aesthetic and ethical norms of American culture. Our list includes prestigious internationally renowned writers as well as mid-career writers. As editor and publisher I acquire manuscripts and work with authors on content editing and proofing. I also typeset all of the manuscripts and work to market and distribute the books via Small Press Distribution and independent bookstores.
Carla Harryman A Voice to Perform
Safaa Fathy (trans. with Pierre Joris) Revolution goes through walls
Bernadette Mayer The Desires of Mothers to Please Others in Letters
(co-published with Nightboat Books)
Elizabeth Zuba DECOHERENT
Martin Corless-Smith this fatal looking glass
Laynie Browne PRACTICE
Lucy Ives The Worldkillers
Maged Zahir If reality doesn’t work out
Carla Harryman: W—/M—
Catherine Meng: The Longest Total Solar Eclipse of the Century
Jerome Rothenberg: A Cruel Nirvana
Alan Gilbert: The Treatment of Monuments
Winter 2010- Editor
2017 The Constant Critic
As editor of The Constant Critic I worked with a stable of five writers who develop reviews of between 1,200-1,800 words of recently-released books of contemporary poetry. Since spring of 2011 I have brought on board three new reviewers to increase diversity and point of view. My editing work entailed book selection, content development, proofing, and formatting for on-line viewing.
- ENGL-265 Forms of Writing: Poetry
- ENGL-290 Aesthetics and Interpretation
- OFFP-SAFRICA Travel Writing in South Africa
- OFFS-SAFRICA Travel Writing in South Africa
- WRIT-252 Introduction to Poetry
- WRIT-352 Intermediate Narrative Poetry
- WRIT-352 Intermediate Poetry
- WRIT-352 Intermediate Poetry Prose Poem
- WRIT-452 Advanced Poetry
- WRIT-500 Independent Study
- WRIT-520 Practicum
- WRIT-540 Internship