About this poet

Kim Addonizio was born in Washington, D.C., on July 31, 1954. She received her BA and MA from San Francisco State University.

Her books of poetry include Lucifer at the Starlite (W. W. Norton, 2009); What Is This Thing Called Love: Poems (W. W. Norton, 2004); Tell Me (BOA Editions, 2000), which was a finalist for the National Book Award; Jimmy & Rita (BOA Editions, 1997); The Philosopher's Club (BOA Editions, 1994); and Three West Coast Women, with Laurie Duesing and Dorianne Laux (Five Fingers Press, 1987).

Addonizio is also the author of In the Box Called Pleasure (Fiction Collective 2, 1999), a collection of stories, and, with Dorianne Laux, the co-author of The Poet's Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry (W.W. Norton, 1997). She coedited Dorothy Parker's Elbow: Tattoos on Writers, Writers on Tattoos (Grand Central Publishing, 2002) with Cheryl Dumesnil. Addonizio was a founding editor of the journal Five Fingers Review.

Among her awards and honors are fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, a Pushcart Prize, and a Commonwealth Club Poetry Medal. Kim Addonizio teaches in the MFA program at Goddard College and lives in San Francisco.




Selected Bibliography

Poetry

Lucifer at the Starlite: Poems (W.W. Norton, 2009)
What Is This Thing Called Love: Poems (W.W. Norton, 2005)
Tell Me (BOA Editions, 2000)
Jimmy & Rita (BOA Editions, 1997)
The Philosophers Club (BOA Editions, 1994)
Three West Coast Women (with Laurie Duesing and Dorianne Laux) (Five Fingers Press, 1987)

Prose

Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within (W.W. Norton, 2009)
My Dreams Out in the Street (Simon & Schuster, 2007)
Little Beauties (Simon & Schuster, 2006)
In the Box Called Pleasure (Fiction Collective 2, 1999)
The Poet’s Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry (W.W. Norton, 1997)

Mermaid Song

Kim Addonizio, 1954
         for Aya at fifteen

Damp-haired from the bath, you drape yourself 
upside down across the sofa, reading, 
one hand idly sunk into a bowl
of crackers, goldfish with smiles stamped on. 
I think they are growing gills, swimming 
up the sweet air to reach you. Small girl, 
my slim miracle, they multiply.
In the black hours when I lie sleepless, 
near drowning, dread-heavy, your face 
is the bright lure I look for, love's hook 
piercing me, hauling me cleanly up.

From Tell Me by Kim Addonizio. Copyright © 2000 by Kim Addonizio. Reprinted by permission of BOA Editions, Ltd. All rights reserved.

From Tell Me by Kim Addonizio. Copyright © 2000 by Kim Addonizio. Reprinted by permission of BOA Editions, Ltd. All rights reserved.

Kim Addonizio

Kim Addonizio

Kim Addonizio's poetry collections include Lucifer at the Starlite (W. W. Norton, 2009); What Is This Thing Called Love: Poems (W. W. Norton, 2004); and Tell Me (BOA Editions, 2000), which was a finalist for the National Book Award.

by this poet

poem
I want a red dress. 
I want it flimsy and cheap, 
I want it too tight, I want to wear it 
until someone tears it off me. 
I want it sleeveless and backless, 
this dress, so no one has to guess 
what's underneath. I want to walk down
the street past Thrifty's and the hardware store 
with all those keys glittering
poem

I think I detect cracked leather.
I’m pretty sure I smell the cherries
from a Shirley Temple my father bought me

in 1959, in a bar in Orlando, Florida,
and the chlorine from my mother’s bathing cap.
And last winter’s kisses, like salt on black ice,

like the moon slung away

poem
He'd left his belt. She
followed him and
threw it in the street.
Wine: kisses: snake: end

of their story. Be-
gin again, under-
stand what happened; de-
spite that battered

feeling, it will have been
worth it; better to
have etc…
(—not to have been born

at all— Schopenhauer.)
But, soft! Enter tears.