Poems by Joan Larkin

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Joan Larkin’s work shines with unrelenting curiosity and ruthless clarity. She takes on a range of difficult subjects, including sexuality, loss, illness, abortion, alcoholism, and
child abuse, combining intensity of material and mastery of craft with incredible grace. In the words of Marie Ponsot, “Joan Larkin's high-wire poetic acts unite both electric
tension and steadfast balance. Deft, probing language surges in these poems, to the music of free verse, metric invention, high rhetoric and demotic wit.” One part grit, two
parts heart, her language seeks truth and presses beyond surfaces, uncovering what is most intimate. As a Los Angeles Times review reflected, “For Larkin, poetry is a form of witness; she offers no false hopes, no resolutions, except to reflect…honestly and directly…the complicated, at times uncontrollable, messiness of being alive.”

A native of Massachusetts who has lived in New York City for many years, Larkin is the author of five books of poems, most recently in My Body: New & Selected Poems, and
the chapbook Legs Tipped with Small Claws. Among her many honors are two Lambda Literary Awards, the Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry, fellowships in poetry and
playwriting from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and the 2011 Academy of American Poets Fellowship.

In addition to poetry, Larkin is a playwright, prose writer, and translator. Her work in other genres includes The AIDS Passion and Brother Dust, a hip-hop version of Sophocles’ Antigone, Glad Day: Daily Meditations for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender People, and Sor Juana’s Love Poems, which she translated with Jaime Manrique. Larkin also co-founded the independent press Out & Out Books as part of the feminist literary explosion of the 1970s and co-edited the groundbreaking poetry anthologies Amazon Poetry, Lesbian Poetry, Gay and Lesbian Poetry in Our Time, as well as A Woman Like That: Lesbian and Bisexual Writers Tell their Coming Out Stories.

She has been on the writing faculties at Brooklyn College, Sarah Lawrence College, Goddard College, and Columbia College at Chicago. She currently teaches at the Drew
University MFA Program in Poetry and Poetry in Translation, and this year she is the Grace Hazard Conkling Poet in Residence at Smith.