Award-winning poet and fiction writer Patricia Traxler is the author of three collections of poetry, Forbidden Words (University of Missouri), The Glass Woman (Hanging Loose Press), Blood Calendar (William Morrow), and a novel, Blood (St. Martins Press), which was also published in an Irish/UK edition, and in Spanish, Swedish, and German translations. Her second novel, A Hunger Season, will be out later this year, and she has just completed work on her fourth poetry collection, The Fires.
Traxler was born and raised in San Diego, California, one of eight children in a working-class Irish-Catholic family. She was much influenced by her maternal grandmother, Nora Dunne, a poet from County Cork, Ireland, who lived with the family for several years during Traxler’s childhood. “I often saw Gran working on her poetry in a green clothbound ledger, and heard her around the house reciting poems like Shelley's ‘To a Skylark,’ just for the delight she took in them, so poetry always seemed an ordinary and essential part of life to me.”
A two-time Bunting Poetry Fellow at Radcliffe, Traxler also served as Hugo Poet at the University of Montana and Thurber Poet at Ohio State. She has lectured, read, or served as visiting writer at many other US universities, including the University of California, San Diego; Emerson College, Boston; Old Dominion University, Virginia; Westminster College, Salt Lake City; San Diego State University; Utah State University; and Kansas University, Lawrence.
"I like the inspiration and challenge of working as a writer in the community," Traxler says. "And although I love teaching aspiring young poets and fiction writers in a university setting, I guess it's not surprising that some of my most rewarding teaching experiences have come outside the world of academe, working in the larger community with people of all ages and backgrounds, including the elderly and various special needs groups." She has developed writing programs and projects for deaf and hearing-impaired children and at-risk teens, for cancer patients, homeless women and survivors of domestic violence, and for mental-health and stroke patients. “These experiences have all enriched me,” she says, "in what they've revealed about the endless possibilities and complexities of human connection." She also founded, and for seventeen years directed, Salina's Spring Poetry Reading Series, which is now in its 30th year and brings poets into Kansas from across the United States, and she has edited two personal history anthologies, Vintage and In Our Time, which collect the memories of people who came of age on the Great Plains between the years 1910 and 1975 (both published by Smoky Hill River Press).
Traxler is a past recipient of Ploughshares' Cohen Award; Nimrod’s Pablo Neruda Award; The Writer's Voice of New York City Open Voice Award for Short Fiction; the Hackney Literary Award for Short Fiction; Radcliffe’s Presidential Discretionary Award; a Kansas Literary Fellowship; 1994 and '99 Poetry Society of America Writers Magazine/Emily Dickinson Award honors; the Alice Carter Award for Poetry from Kansas University; and the Georgia State University Award for Short Fiction. She is also a past Grand Prize winner of the International Imitation Hemingway Competition.
Her poetry and fiction have appeared widely, including in The Nation, Slate, Agni, Ploughshares, The Boston Review, The Kenyon Review, Ms. Magazine, Hanging Loose, Tikkun, Glimmer Train, The American Voice, The Los Angeles Times Literary Supplement, The San Francisco Chronicle, and New Letters, as well as in a number of anthologies, including Best American Poetry (A.R. Ammons, ed.); A Handbook of Heartbreak (Robert Pinsky, ed.); A Ring of Words (Andrew Motion, ed.); Tangled Vines (L.Lifshin, ed.); e: the Emily Dickinson Award Anthology (Universities West); The Best of Bad Hemingway: Award Anthology (G. Piepenbrink, ed; Harcourt); and special mention in the Pushcart Prize Anthology for her 7-poem sequence, "Finitudes," which originally appeared in New Letters.
Traxler’s essays have appeared in Newsweek, The Daily Beast, and the anthologies Night Errands: How Poets Use Dreams (University of Pittsburgh Press), and Grandmothers: Granddaughters Remember (Syracuse University Press). Currently, she is working on a collection of short stories, I'll Always Love You (unless you love me, too), and beginning work on her third novel, which will be set in Ireland and America.
Literary Agent: Gail Hochman, Brandt and Hochman Literary Agents, 1501 Broadway, New York, NY 10036