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About this poet

Kathryn Nuernberger was born in St. Louis,  Missouri, on August 1, 1980. She earned a BA from the University of Missouri, an MFA from Eastern Washington University, and a PhD from Ohio University.

Nuernberger is the author of The End of Pink (BOA Editions, 2016), which received the 2015 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, given to recognize a superior second book of poetry by an American poet. She is also the author of Rag & Bone, which won the Antivenom Prize from Elixir Press and was published in 2011.

Laughlin Award judge Aimee Nezhukumatathil wrote about Nuernberger’s winning book:

The remarkable designs of a landscape created by Kathryn Nuernberger give us such a stamp of hoof, wonder, and wit— so much wisdom and understanding of what it means to truly fling your body into the world. This is an unforgettable collection of sly-sexy poems of desire, grief, and motherhood, finally offering up the “truth of it, the refracted light and blooming anemones of it, the red/ coral and unfurling starfish of it.” But perhaps the greatest gift from The End of Pink is the insistence of “how very emerald joy is, how very leafed with lapis and gilding”—a passionate aide-mémoire to hold off a surrender to the dark.

Her honors include fellowships from The American Antiquarian Society, The Bakken Museum, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Nuernberger teaches creative writing at the University of Central Missouri, where she also serves as the director of Pleiades Press. She lives in Columbia, Missouri.


Bibliography

The End of Pink (BOA Editions, 2016)
Rag & Bone (Elixir Press, 2011)

 

The Symbolical Head (1883) as When Was the Last Time?

What faculties, when perverted, most degrade the mind?
What faculties, when perverted, does it cost most to gratify?

I undertook to discover the soul in the body—
I looked in the pineal gland, I looked
in the vena cava. I looked in every
perforating arterial branch. With the fingers
of my right, I touched the Will and the Ring
of Solomon on the left. For a second
I felt sprung. Then bereft as ever.
Someone used to love me. Someone
used to see me. If you open a person up,
purple, pulsing. It’s in here somewhere, scalpel,
and in and in. Let’s walk in the woods,
as we once did, and see if we can find a snail,
its shell covered in symbiotic lichen.
When you covered my lichen in yours,
I thought that’s what we wanted—
to be rock and moss and slug and all of it.
To be simultaneously thinking of snails,
which are so beautifully stony
and marvelously squished.
Wasn’t that what we wanted?
I went to your lecture. I thought it
best to retrace my steps. You were trying
to explain—If I were to put my fingers directly on your brain . . .
I wish you would, how I wish you would
trace the seagull diving towards the water
as a whale rises up, the anchor dropped, the gray
linen slacks, all the polygons of my this and that
jigsawing under your touch. Oh yes, let’s
do that. Let’s vivisect my brain and see
if it’s in there. You have your porcelain man
with the black-lined map of his longing.
You have your pointer and your glasses
and your pen. I hear you ask the class, What faculties,
having ascendancy, are deaf to reason? What faculty,
when large, brightens every object on which we look?

I miss you, you know. I miss you so.

From The End of Pink. Copyright © 2016 by Kathryn Nuernberger. Used with the permission of BOA Editions, Ltd., www.boaeditions.org.

From The End of Pink. Copyright © 2016 by Kathryn Nuernberger. Used with the permission of BOA Editions, Ltd., www.boaeditions.org.

Kathryn Nuernberger

Kathryn Nuernberger

Kathryn Nuernberger is the author of The End of Pink (BOA Editions, 2016), which received the 2015 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, given to recognize a superior second book of poetry by an American poet.

by this poet

poem

In man, it was written, are found the elements
and their characteristics, for he passes
from cold to hot, moisture to dryness.
He comes into being and passes out of being
like the minerals, nourishes and reproduces
like the plants, has feeling and life
like animals. His

poem

I keep a white peacock behind my ear,
a wasn’t, a fantail of wasn’ts,
nevered feathers upon evered
falling all over the grass.
When a green peacock landed
on my shoulder to shimmy
its iridescent trills, everyone asked
if it was my first peacock.
It’s impolite to speak of the