Kari Edwards was born in Illinois in 1954 and raised in Westfield, New York. After studying sculpture, Edwards taught in the art department at Denver University, then went on to receive an MA in psychology and an MFA in writing and poetics from the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado. After graduating in 2000, Edwards moved to San Francisco, where she became active in the local poetry and transgender communities. She also launched a blog, Transdada, and remained committed to social justice and queer activism.
Edwards wrote and published numerous poetry collections: 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); and have been blue for charity (BlazeVox, 2006); succubus in my pocket (EOAGH Books, 2015), which won the first Lambda Literary Award in Transgender Poetry, and Bharat jiva (Belladonna Books, 2009), were both released posthumously.
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.
Kari Edwards died of a pulmonary embolism on December 2, 2006, at the age of fifty-four.