Kathleen Fraser was born on March 22, 1935, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She received her BA from Occidental College in Los Angeles in 1959.
Fraser authored more than fifteen books, including moveable TYYPE
(Nightboat Books, 2011); Discrete Categories Forced into Coupling
(Apogee Press, 2004); il cuore – the heart: Selected Poems, 1970–1995
(Wesleyan Poetry Series, 1997); When Time Folds Up
(Chax Press, 1993); and Something (even human voices) in the foreground, a lake
(Kelsey Street Press, 1984). Among her influences were Stanley Kunitiz
and Kenneth Koch
, with whom she studied while living in New York, as well as Charles Olson
, George Oppen
, Lorine Neidecker
, and Barbara Guest
About Fraser’s work, the poet Patrick Pritchett wrote,
Kathleen Fraser’s remarkable poetic career has encompassed the feminist concern with exclusion, marginality, and the generation of “voice,” as well as the poststructuralist intrigue surrounding the construction of the self through language. Throughout, she has reveled in the liberating play of words themselves. Fraser’s devotion to discovery, her willingness to risk, and her profoundly lyrical
sense of the intimate place her not only among our most daring poetic innovators, but also mark her as one of the preeminent poets of the past thirty years.
Fraser’s honors include two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
After graduating from college, Fraser moved to New York to work in an editorial position at Mademoiselle
magazine. In 1983, Fraser cofounded (HOW)ever
, a feminist poetics journal focused on innovative writing that was published until 1992. She taught at San Francisco State University from 1972 to 1992, where she both served as the director of The Poetry Center and founded the American Poetry Archives. She was then on the faculty at the California College of the Arts.
Fraser lived in both the San Francisco Bay Area and in Rome, Italy. She died on February 5, 2019.