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About this poet

kari edwards was born in Illinois in 1954 and raised in Westfield, New York. After studying sculpture in school, edwards taught in the art department at Denver University, and went on to receive an MA in psychology and an MFA in writing and poetics from the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

At Naropa, edwards met Frances Blau, and the two became lifelong partners. After graduating in 2000, edwards and Blau moved to San Fransisco, where edwards became active in the local poetry and transgender communities. edwards also launched a blog, Transdada, and remained committed to social justice and queer activism.

edwards wrote several poetry collections, including post/(pink) (Scarlet Press, 2000), a diary of lies (Belladonna Books, 2002), a day in the life of p. (Subpress Collective, 2002), obedience (Factory School, 2005), have been blue for charity (BlazeVox, 2006), and Bharat jiva (Belladonna Books), which was released posthumously in 2009.

Friend and poet Rob Halpern notes, “kari made limitless demands on our responsibility to respond to all forms of injustice, from the violence against trans-folk, to the injustice of language itself….kari knew that we need to use language radically and innovatively in order to overcome that violence, hence her faithfulness to the likes of Gertrude Stein, as well as Dada.”

edwards won the New Langton Arts Bay Area Award in literature in 2002, and Small Press Traffic’s Book of the Year Award in 2004. edwards died of a pulmonary embolism on December 2, 2006, at the age of fifty-four.
 


Selected Bibliography

succubus in my pocket (EOAGH Books, 2015)
Bharat jiva (Belladonna Books, 2009)
have been blue for charity (BlazeVox, 2006)
obedience (Factory School, 2005)
iduna (O Books, 2003)
a day in the life of p. (subpress collective, 2002)
a diary of lies (Belladonna Books, 2002)
obLiqUE paRt(itON): colLABorationS (xPress(ed), 2002)
post/(pink) (Scarlet Press, 2000)

from Bharat jiva [I can not begin to know]

I can not begin to know
producing difference by deferring
second third person construction
in the first third person narrative
promising surrender to the dead
acknowledging, I am an unknown participant
something maybe, something blind
consuming scarcity
producing hunger
constructing gender
breathing markers
making someone a thing
scapegoat instance
another perfect occasion
construct of a common sense sentence
out of many different bank accounts
apparently to produce
a final outcome
illumination legible
newspaper flyspeck
on the edge of an abstract noun

From Bharat jiva, published by Belladonna Books. Copyright © 2009, by kari edwards. Reprinted with permission of Belladonna Books.

From Bharat jiva, published by Belladonna Books. Copyright © 2009, by kari edwards. Reprinted with permission of Belladonna Books.

kari edwards

kari edwards

Known for her work as a gender activist, kari edwards published several books, including the posthumous poetry collections Bharat jiva (Belladonna Books, 2009) and succubus in my pocket (EOAGH Books, 2015).

by this poet

poem

there by the trees
     clarified remains left abandoned
in anonymous language venues
    knowing only numb to rule
able to play with knives and forks
    I am puzzled by an exit
requiring eye hand coordination
    installed on paper thin masonry
composed of random

poem

the clock is on time
because the stars fall
because all form forms time
              falls on the body
              freezes a book
              beneath the water
because the water is an organ
because all arguments are similar
              similar singularities

poem

again, playing with fire
unpleasant reminders burnt away
fumed extreme flat
again, playing
hollowed out body
boundaries left wall'd
status stand-ins
in cement house
where concrete slogans
armed with body conflict
expunge paradise
from later day subdivisions