Photo by Lori Lambrecht
2017 - Today I write poems in the hope that my words will haunt someone else, living now or in the future ("People of the Future" ---Ted Berrigan; "What is it then between us? / What is the count of the scores or hundreds of years between us?"--- Walt Whitman). My poems themselves often converse with other poems, poets, and characters from books. And I teach my students to learn how to listen to the dead, to try and understand the context of their words, and to articulate in the classroom and in writing their own mental conversations.
bio - Karen Weiser is a writer who lives in New York City. Currently she is in advanced training for Psychoanalysis at the Institute of Contemporary Psychotherapy in New York City. She has a Phd in English and American Studies from the CUNY Graduate Center and an MFA in Poetry from the New School. She writes poetry as well as essays on 19th Century American novels and poetry. Her second collection of poems entitled Or, The Ambiguities (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2015) was written in conversation with the works of Herman Melville. Her first book To Light Out (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2010) considered the idea of talking with the unknown while pregnant. Her creative works in process include a book of poems inspired by the lives and discoveries of 18th century astronomers William and Caroline Herschel, and a libretto for an opera entitled You Who Made the Heavens Incline about 9th century Byzantine nun Kassia, who is widely considered to be one of the first famous female composers. She is a 2014 NYFA Poetry Fellow and was recently awarded residencies through The Marble House, The Rauschenberg Foundation, and LMCC. She has taught at Barnard College, New York University and CUNY Queens, and has had full-time Visiting Assistant Professor and Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow positions at New Jersey City University and Fordham University.
1981 - This was the year that a writer visited our first grade classroom and had us close our eyes and imagine. That moment everything changed for me, and I started to turn to words, my own and those in books, as a way to keep company with others. Now I think about reading as communicating with the dead, since as a nineteenth-century Americanist, so many of the authors I read are no longer living. These communiques with ghosts have influenced me as much as my conversations with the living, I think, and so for me the tradition of literature is an enjoyable and necessary haunting.