About the Poet

Contact Information
Karen An-hwei Lee
1220 Rosecrans Street, Box 423
San Diego, CA 92106
psalm33.2 @ gmail.com

Karen An-hwei Lee is the author of Phyla of Joy (Tupelo Press, 2012), Ardor (Tupelo Press, 2008), a July Open selection, and In Medias Res (Sarabande Books, 2004), winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Prize selected by Heather McHugh and the Norma Farber First Book Award chosen by Cole Swensen. She is the author of a lyric novel, Sonata in K (Ellipsis Press, 2017).  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). Lee received the Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award (University of Nebraska) in 2014. A book of criticism, Anglophone Literatures in the Asian Diaspora: Literary Transnationalism and Translingual Migrations (Cambria, 2013), was selected for publication by Victor H. Mair (University of Pennsylvania) for the Cambria World Sinophone Series.

Lee has presented readings at the University of California, Berkeley, the Program in Literary Arts at Brown University, the Casa Romantica Reading Series in San Clemente, the Japanese American National Museum, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, the Lincoln Center in New York City, Fall for the Book Festival at George Mason University, Old Dominion University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of Wisconsin, St. John’s College in Santa Fe, Cedarville University, Occupy MLA hosted by Seattle Town Hall, and the Hugh C. Hyde Living Writers Series at San Diego State University, among other venues.

Recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist’s Grant, Lee 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 in the field of music therapy for mental health patients. With over a decade of university-level teaching experience, she previously served as Professor of English and Chair at a college in greater Los Angeles.  Currently, Lee serves in the university administration at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego.

Lee is a voting member of the National Book Critics Circle.  A former writing resident at MacDowell Colony of the Arts and the Millay Arts Colony, Lee holds an M.F.A. in Literary Arts (Creative Writing) from Brown University and a Ph.D. in literature from the University of California, Berkeley.  In June 2011, she served as a faculty member at the Kundiman Asian American Poetry Retreat hosted by Fordham University in New York City.

In addition to numerous anthologies, Lee’s poetry, fiction, & translations appear in over a hundred journals, including American Literary Review, The American Poet, American Poetry Journal, Asheville Poetry Review, Bellingham Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Berkeley Poetry Review, Blue Mesa Review, Carolina Quarterly, Columbia Poetry ReviewThe Cortland Review, Crab Orchard Review, Feminist Studies, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Fourteen Hills, Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, Greensboro Review, Guernica, Gulf Coast, Image: Art, Faith, Mystery, Iowa Review, Journal of Feminist Studies and Religion, Kenyon Review, Manoa, Massachusetts Review, Melusine: Woman in the 21st Century, Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism, Michigan Quarterly Review, New Orleans Review, North American Review, Phoebe, Poetry Magazine, Poetry Northwest, Poetry Quarterly, Poetry Salzburg Review, Prairie Schooner, Prose Poem Project, Puerto del Sol, Rosebud, Salamander, Sojourn, Spoon River Poetry Review, Sycamore Review, Third Coast, Versal, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Witness. 

Poetry Foundation’s Audio Recording: May We Blossom Every Fifty Years 

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A Special Note to Readers:  I hear from time to time that my “standard author photo” doesn’t look like me.  My hair is longer nowadays, and I wear glasses.   I love hats, but in southern California I go hatless unless I’m spending a winter in the Northeast, since my beloved hats are mostly wool or velvet or yarn or felt.

I’ve included a snapshot below.  I am camera shy and don’t usually post candid photos of myself!  Here I am, sitting in my office for Fall 2011, as students see me when I greet them for office hours.   Smile…

Okay, a couple folks pointed out the 2011 photograph (above) is now outdated.  Here is a March 2014 photograph  taken by Glendale poet Michelle Chung at the Poets & Writers ALTA-LA Reading Series hosted by Altadena Poet Laureate, Linda Dove.

3.14.14 Me at Altadena #2