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kari edwards

kari edwards was born in Illinois in 1954 and raised in Westfield, New York. After studying sculpture in school, edwards taught in the art department at Denver University, and went on to receive an MA in psychology and an MFA in writing and poetics from the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

At Naropa, edwards met Frances Blau, and the two became lifelong partners. After graduating in 2000, edwards and Blau moved to San Fransisco, where edwards became active in the local poetry and transgender communities. edwards also launched a blog, Transdada, and remained committed to social justice and queer activism.

edwards wrote several poetry collections, including 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), have been blue for charity (BlazeVox, 2006), and Bharat jiva (Belladonna Books), which was released posthumously in 2009.

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. edwards died of a pulmonary embolism on December 2, 2006, at the age of fifty-four.
 


Selected Bibliography

succubus in my pocket (EOAGH Books, 2015)
Bharat jiva (Belladonna Books, 2009)
have been blue for charity (BlazeVox, 2006)
obedience (Factory School, 2005)
iduna (O Books, 2003)
a day in the life of p. (subpress collective, 2002)
a diary of lies (Belladonna Books, 2002)
obLiqUE paRt(itON): colLABorationS (xPress(ed), 2002)
post/(pink) (Scarlet Press, 2000)

By This Poet

11

from Bharat jiva [the day shifts...]

the day shifts, we talk to each other the way
we talk to each other, the luster fades, our
bodies fill with sap, there is a shift, joy
reappears before another personal narrative
burns to a heap of citations, continuing in
complicated machinery, becoming blood
knots in space, both the living and dead
surround the present has been. I open my
eyes in the full force of fear and hesitation,
frozen in passing passageways with endless
permutations, subjected to violence, stupidity,
and love.

from Bharat jiva [running sadness to the ground]

running sadness to the ground
divided
running sadness to the ground
strange though
I prefer to play with matches
rough ride midnight's helpless plea
under yesterday's lapse into
praying for an evolutionary jerk forward

oh body
washed in blood
and covered in phosophorous ash
spring me one last breath
filled with real remnants
quicksilver and lead
let me drink from your
sorry scheme of things

let me touch the spot
that bites back

[stories from across the ocean]

the broken pleasure of knives begin, weaves incompressible
intrusion on inescapable spreadsheets

I have a death watch count down, termination amongst the
swell of three-quarter fools who dance reptilian obedience

do not raise above the star’s subtle shades of lowered eyes
that shuffle into place

the flowers brown and wilt. the street turns gray. no sound is
possible in this counterfeit circus, only the faintest groan labors
out of something, like an organ swollen from so much marching.