Karen S. Williams

Metro Detroit, MI

Author's Bio

Pushcart Poetry Prize nominee, and one of Poets and Writer's Magazine 2009 12 Poets to Watch, and a 2009 State of Michigan Notable Book Nominee, writer Karen S. Williams was born in Wayne, Michigan and grew up in Inkster, Michigan. She received a B.S.J. from The Ohio University, an M.A.T from Wayne State University, and a M.A. in Health and Humanities from the Program for Bioethics, Humanities and Society from Michigan State University. Karen has read her poetry across the country and is a former Poet in Residence for the City of Inkster, Michigan; former chair and Senior Poetry Editor of the award-winning Detroit Writer’s Guild; a Broadside Press Poet; a Squaw Valley Poet; a Hurston-Wright Poet; and a Cave Canem African-American Poetry Fellow. She also volunteers as a program planner and marketing consultant with the Josie Odum Morris Literacy Project. Karen's Her poetry, essays and fiction has been published widely in such periodicals, journals and anthologies including Spirit and Flame; Abandon Automobile; Bum Rush the Page; Beyond the Frontier; The Nubian Gallery; Black Hair: Art, Style and Culture; Gathering Ground and Keeping the Faith among others. Further, her writing is anchored in topics exploring the Christian spiritual quest;autobiography; science and nature; American medicine; history; American arts & culture; the woman's life journey; and personal transformation & growth. An Arts-in-Medicine consultant and evaluator, Karen enjoys designing and teaching journaling, and creative writing workshops. Employed full-time in the juvenile justice field, she lives in Metropolitan Detroit. She says of the poems in her book, Elegy for a Scarred Shoulder (Willow Books, 2008), “I rather think of these poems like Denise Levertov said of her work. They “articulate the dreads and horrors of our time” and are “necessary in order to make readers understand what is happening, really understand it, not just know about it but feel it…” She further says regarding her second poetry collection, "Marine Life" (Willow Books, 2010): "Marine life, to me, involves more than just the sea, its creatures, its mysteries and its many wonders. It also embraces the daily lives of those associated with the sea; who either live by it, work in its environment, partake of its bounty or try to protect and steward it. These are groups of which you and I are part, and the poems within this book are our stories." Detroit's Willow Books will release her third book, an adults and children's fable, "The Blessing Chair" in 2012.

Publications and Prizes

Elegy for a Scarred Shoulder
(Aquarius Press, 2008)
, Marine Life: A World in Poems
(Willow Books, 2010)
Abandon Automobile: Detroit City Poetry 2001
(Wayne State University Press, 2001)
, Beyond the Frontier: African-American Poetry for the 21st Century
(Black Classic Press, 2002)
, Black Hair: Art, Style and Culture
(Universe, 2001)
, Bum Rush The Page: A Def Poetry Jam
(Three Rivers Press, 2001)
, Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem's First Decade
(University of Michigan Press, 2006)
, Spirit & Flame: An Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry
(Syracuse University Press, 1997)
Prizes Won: 
Cave Canem African-American Poetry Fellowship; 2004 Finalist for the Naomi Long Madgett/Lotus Press Poetry Award.

Personal Favorites

What I'm Reading Now: 
Releasing Your Potential: Exposing the Hidden You by Myles Munroe
The Healing Path: How the Hurts in Your Past Can Lead You to a More Abundant Life by Dan Allender
Ugly as Sin: The Truth About How We Look and Finding Freedom from Self-Hatred by Toni Raiten-D'Antonio

More Information

Listed as: 
Gives readings: 
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Identifies as: 
African American
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Raised in: 
Inkster, MI
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Last updated: Dec 17, 2011