Randy Koch


Walnut Grove, MN
Minnesota US

Author's Bio

Randy Koch worked at a stockyard and a nursing home for ten years before earning an MA in fiction writing at Minnesota State University, Mankato and an MFA in poetry writing at the University of Wyoming. He taught community college and university courses in composition and creative writing in Minnesota, Texas, and Pennsylvania and volunteered as a creative writing instructor at the federal prison in Rochester, MN. He’s the author of two collections of poems, Composing Ourselves (Fithian Press, 2002) and This Splintered Horse (Finishing Line Press, 2011), and is a longtime columnist for LareDOS: A Journal of the Borderlands. His poems have appeared in Revista Interamericana, Bilingual Review/Revista Bilingüe, J Journal, Measure, Passages North, The Texas Observer, Chiricú Journal, and many others. His manuscript of dramatic monologues about the Spanish conquest of the Americas, titled Against the Risen Flesh, was short-listed for the Alternating Current Press Electric Book Award and is scheduled for publication in 2025-2026.

Publications & Prizes

Composing Ourselves: Sonnets about Teaching Composition on the U.S.-Mexico Border (Fithian Press, 2002)
This Splintered Horse (Finishing Line Press, 2011)
Prizes won: 


  • Short-listed and finalist for the Alternating Current Press Electric Book Award for Against the Risen Flesh on 31 Dec. 2023.
  • Pushcart Prize nomination in Nov. 2022 by Sundial Magazine for “At the Foot of the Mountain.”
  • Winner of Daily News Prize ($300) for poem “Extreme Unction” in The Caribbean Writer, Volume 24 (2010) (Kingshill, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands).
  • Semifinalist in the Finishing Line Press 2010 Open Chapbook Competition (Georgetown, KY) for This Splintered Horse; judged by Ned Balbo.
  • Pushcart Prize nomination in Dec. 2002 by Palo Alto Review for “Mixing Metaphors and a Meal.”

Personal Favorites

Favorite authors: 
Dean Young, Art Spiegelman, H. D. Thoreau, Raymond Carver, Cormac McCarthy, Louise Erdrich, Joan Didion, Ilya Kaminsky, Seamus Heaney, Nick Flynn, Nick Hornby, Mary Karr, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Annie Dillard, John Gardner, David Treuer, Jane Hirshfield, Harper Lee, Günter Grass, William Least Heat-Moon, Tim O'Brien, Toni Morrison, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Milan Kundera, Michael Ondaatje, Antonio Skarmeta, Robert M. Pirsig, Benjamín Labatut, George Orwell, Junot Díaz, etc.
What I'm reading now: 
Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann, The Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of U.S. History by Ned Blackhawk, Vincent van Gogh: A Life in Letters by Nienke Bakker, Leo Jansen and Hans Luijten, eds.

More Information

Gives readings: 
Travels for readings: 
Identifies as: 
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Fluent in: 
Born in: 
Sleepy Eye, MN
Raised in: 
Lamberton, MN
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Last update: Jan 24, 2024