Karen Kilcup is the Elizabeth Rosenthal Excellence Professor of English, Environmental & Sustainability Studies, and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies at UNC Greensboro. Four of Kilcup’s thirteen academic books have received Choice citations as an Outstanding Academic Title, including her two most recent volumes, Who Killed American Poetry? From National Obsession to Elite Possession (University of Michigan Press, 2019) and Stronger, Truer, Bolder: American Children’s Writing, Nature, and the Environment (University of Georgia Press, 2021). She has received major National Endowment for the Humanities awards, as well as many professional honors, such as serving as the Dorothy M. Healy Distinguished Visiting Professor of American Studies at Westbrook College (now the University of New England) and the Edna and Jordan Davidson Eminent Scholar Chair in the Humanities at Florida International University.
Named a Distinguished Teacher by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars and the National Education Association, she has taught at institutions that include Tufts University, Brandeis University, Colby College, the University of Hull in England, and the University of Berne in Switzerland. After a decade of academic vagabonding, she landed at Greensboro, where she has been since 1997. Kilcup has a B.A. in English and mathematics from Wellesley College, an M.A. in English from the University of New Hampshire, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Brandeis University. She coedits a professional quarterly, ESQ: A Journal of Nineteenth-Century American Literature and Culture and, with her students, edits The Envious Lobster: A Collection of American Children’s Nature Writing, 1824-1924.
Kilcup has written poetry for four decades but began submitting it for publication only in mid-2021. Over seventy-five of her poems appear in anthologies and various journals, including Poet Lore, Poetry East, Caesura, Hole in the Head Review, and storySouth. Her chapbook Black Nebula is forthcoming from Grey Books Publishing, and her forthcoming full-length collection The Art of Restoration won the 2021 Winter Goose Poetry Prize. In 2022, her poem “Old Growth” received an honorable mention for the New England Poetry Club’s E. E. Cummings Poetry Prize, and her “Feathers and Wedges” received the Julia Peterkin Literary Award for Poetry from South 85 journal and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Forthcoming is Ora Eddleman Reed: Author, Editor, and Activist for Cherokee Rights.
Kilcup grew up in an old farming family with the company of many animals. She loves cats, especially her most recent feline, Easy. An avid cook, gardener, runner, kayaker, and rock climber, Kilcup lives in coastal New Hampshire with the love of her life, Alan.
Karen Kilcup’s Red Appetite, winner of the 2022 Helen Kay Chapbook Contest