Read Smith’s plans for the fall 2021 semester.
Current Operating Mode: GREEN
KT Herr '07
KT Herr (she/her & they/them) is a queer poet, songwriter, educator, and curious person from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. They hold a BA in English Language & Literature from Smith College, where they were awarded the Ruth Forbes Eliot Poetry Prize and the Rosemary Thomas Poetry Prize. While earning their MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College, they received a Jane Cooper Fellowship and the 2019-20 Thomas Lux Award. They are also the grateful recipient of a 2019 Pabst Fellowship to attend the Atlantic Center for the Arts.
KT’s poems have been selected as finalists in the Frontier OPEN Prize and the Palette Poetry Spotlight Award; as semifinalist for the 92Y Discovery Contest; and as winner of the 2020 Sweet Lit Poetry Contest. Additionally, their writing has appeared in or is forthcoming from SWWIM, Barrow Street 4x2, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, The Rupture, and elsewhere.
KT has worked as a teaching artist for the Sunnyside Creative Writing Program, a coordinator for the Right-to-Write program, a publishing intern with Black Lawrence Press, and as director of the Sarah Lawrence Poetry Festival. In a past life, KT slung beers and built charcuterie boards. Presently, they spend time as a ghostwriter, community educator, podcast producer, and plant mom. They currently make their home in Seattle, WA, where they are in love with a growing menagerie of house plants, mountains wearing hats, and a fellow Smithie.
We’re on the bench around the corner from the red
brick maze behind the jungle gym & Morgan is teaching me
how to make a tune with only my two small
hands. Like this, she says, & folds concave
palms, fingers cupped as though sequestering
a captured hummingbird. She puckers
chapped lips up to her aperture of bent
thumbs, chirps blow, then looses a hoot from puffed
cheeks, owl-bright & eerie
under gathering clouds. Nightshade berries
stain my knees. I slobber myself spitless
against knuckles that won’t sound. Meanwhile,
boys play tag. At lunch Morgan told us
the only girls Chris whips with his sweatshirt
are girls he wants to kiss. Morgan
is the only girl Chris whips
with his sweatshirt. Morgan is the only girl
Ms. Wooley picked twice for line-leader. I crouch
center-maze on crumbled brick, kissing
my hand. I crush the invisible
bird, make it a mouth. Then a church. Here
is the steeple. Open the doors, see
how the walls are pocked
with soil. Dirty, torn-nail
parishioners. Ms. Wooley calls, but I’m holding
choir auditions. At Chris’s locker, I make
the caught-bird shape
and say like this, my thumbs tucked
inside, wrong, but we blow
until our hands are slick with
spit, giggles rounding the hall, sweatshirt sleeves
pushed past our elbows. I can’t decide
whose hands make a better cage.