Karen An-hwei Lee

1220 Rosecrans Street, Box 423
San Diego, CA 92106

Author's Bio

Karen An-hwei Lee is the author of the poetry collections, Phyla of Joy (Tupelo 2012), Ardor (Tupelo 2008), a July Open selection, and In Medias Res (Sarabande 2004), winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Prize selected by Heather McHugh and the Norma Farber First Book Award chosen by Cole Swensen for the Poetry Society of America. She authored a novel, Sonata in K (Ellipsis 2017). Her translations of Li Qingzhao's writings are collected in a single volume, Doubled Radiance: Poetry & Prose of Li Qingzhao (Singing Bone 2018). Lee also wrote two chapbooks, God’s One Hundred Promises, winner of the Swan Scythe Press Prize awarded by Sandra McPherson in 2002, and What the Sea Earns for a Living (Quaci Press 2014). A book of literary criticism, Anglophone Literatures in the Asian Diaspora (Cambria 2013), appears in the Cambria Sinophone World Series edited by Victor H. Mair, Chair of East Asian Languages & Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania. Karen Lee has presented readings at the Japanese American National Museum, Holloway Poetry Series at U. C. Berkeley, the Program in Literary Arts at Brown University, the Lincoln Center in New York City, Seattle Town Hall, the Casa Romantica Reading Series in San Clemente, California, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, the Orange Book Festival, Fall for the Book at George Mason University, and the Hugh C. Hyde Living Writers Series at San Diego State University. She has worked as a florist's assistant, mended books in a rare-book archive, grown cell cultures in a medical lab, read to children in a family literacy program, and taught music lessons as occupational therapy for mental health patients. A former writing resident at MacDowell Colony of the Arts and the Millay Arts Colony, she previously served as Full Professor of English and Chair at a liberal arts college in greater Los Angeles. She holds an M.F.A. from the Program in Literary Arts at Brown University and a Ph.D. in British & American Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. Currently, she lives in San Diego and serves in the university administration at Point Loma Nazarene University.

Publications and Prizes

Anglophone Literatures in the Asian Diaspora
(Cambria Press, 2013)
, Ardor
(Tupelo Press, 2008)
, God's One Hundred Promises
(Swan Scythe Press, 2002)
, In Medias Res
(Sarabande Books, 2004)
, Phyla of Joy
(Tupelo Press, 2012)
, Sonata in K
(Ellipsis Press, 2017)
Best Spiritual Writing 2012
(Penguin, 2012)
, In Pieces: An Anthology of Fragmentary Writings
(Impassio Press, 2006)
, Nahualliandoing Dos: An Anthology in Nahuatl, Español and English
(Aztlan Libre Press, 2012)
, Poets of the American West
(Many Voices Press, 2010)
, The Arcadia Project: Postmodern Pastoral
(Ahsahta Press, 2012)
, Transnational Women Warriors: From Asia to Asian America
(McFarland Press , 2010)
, Yellow as Turmeric, Fragrant as Cloves: Asian American Women Poets
(Deep Bowl Press, 2009)
American Literary Review, American Poet, American Poetry Journal, Asheville Poetry Review, Bellingham Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Berkeley Poetry Review, Blue Mesa Review, Carolina Quarterly, Columbia Poetry Review, Crab Orchard Review, Crazyhorse, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Flyway, Fourteen Hills, Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, Greensboro Review, Guernica Magazine, Gulf Coast, Image: A Journal of the Arts and Religion, Iowa Review, Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Kenyon Review, Manoa, Melusine: Woman in the 21st Century, Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism, Michigan Quarterly Review, New Orleans Review, Ninth Letter, North American Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Phoebe, Poecology, Poetry International, Poetry Magazine, Poetry Northwest, Poetry Quarterly, Poetry Salzburg Review, Puerto del Sol, Quarterly West, Rosebud, Sojourn, Spoon River Poetry Review, London Magazine, The Prose Poem, Third Coast, Versal, Virginia Quarterly Review, Witness
What the Sea Earns for a Living
(Quaci Press, 2014)
Prizes Won: 
NEA Literature Grant (National Endowment for the Arts) Kathryn A. Morton Prize (Sarabande Books) Norma Farber First Book Award (Poetry Society of America) Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award (University of Nebraska) Eisner Prize (University of California, Berkeley) John Hawkes Prize (Brown University)

Personal Favorites

What I'm Reading Now: 
Spaces between Birds by Sandra McPherson
Book of Life by Alicia Ostriker
Manazuru by Hiromi Kawakami
Senegal Taxi by Juan Felipe Herrera
The New Black by Evie Shockley

More Information

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Identifies as: 
Asian American
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Please note: All information in the Directory is provided by the listed writers or their representatives.
Last updated: Feb 01, 2019