Born on July 29, 1936, Karen Swenson grew up in Chappaqua, New York and studied at Barnard College and New York University. Her books of poetry include A Daughter's Latitude (Copper Canyon Press, 1999); The Landlady in Bangkok (1993), which was selected for the National Poetry Series; A Sense of Direction (1989); An Attic of Ideals (1974); and the chapbook East-West (1980). For the past fifteen years she has traveled extensively each year in Southeast Asia and written articles for The Wall St. Journal, The New York Times, and The New Leader and magazines based on her experiences in the East. Swenson has taught at universities and colleges across the country and served as a consultant for The National Geographic. She lives in New York City.