Award-winning poet, essayist, and fiction writer Patricia Traxler is the author of four poetry collections: Naming the Fires, winner of the 2019 Kansas Book Award in Poetry (Hanging Loose Press); Forbidden Words (University of Missouri); Blood Calendar (William Morrow); The Glass Woman (Hanging Loose Press); and a novel, Blood (St. Martin's/Macmillan), which was also published in Spanish, Swedish, and German translations, as well as in a UK/Ireland edition. Blood was a best seller in Latin America.
Traxler's most recent book publication is a short story collection, In the Skin (Spartan Press), several of which have won national or international awards, most recently Ireland's 2019 Moth Magazine Short Story Award. She is currently completing work on her fifth poetry collection, Paradise, and a collection of autobiographical essays, The Eternity Bird, which explore faith and doubt, family, politics--sexual and otherwise--and such subjects as the meaning of truth in the life of a writer.
Born and raised in San Diego, and one of eight children in a working class Irish-Catholic family, Traxler 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.
"When I was a kid," she says, "I often saw Gran working on her poetry in a green clothbound ledger, or heard her around the house reciting poems like Shelley's 'To a Skylark,’ just for the delight she took in them, so I grew up seeing poetry as an ordinary and essential part of everyday life.”
Twice named the 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," says Traxler, a longtime resident of Kansas. "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 while working in the larger community with people of all ages and backgrounds."
In addition to her work with mainstream and gifted student populations at all academic levels, she has developed writing programs and projects for at-risk teens, deaf and hearing-impaired children, and learning-disabled students. She has also created grief workshops for adults and children, programs for cancer patients, survivors of domestic violence, residents of homeless shelters, and for mental-health patients and stroke patients in a hospital setting.
“These experiences have all enriched me,” she says, "in what they've revealed about the endless possibilities and complexities of human connection, as well as about the healing powers of writing."
Traxler has edited and published two regional 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 (Smoky Hill River Press).
She is a past recipient of Radcliffe's Presidential Discretionary Award; Ploughshares' Cohen Award; Nimrod’s Pablo Neruda Award; The Writer's Voice of New York City Open Voice Award for Short Fiction; the Cecil Hackney National Literary Award for Short Fiction; The Moth Magazine's Short Story Award (Ireland); 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; the Georgia State University Award for Short Fiction, and the 2019 Kansas Book Award in Poetry. She is also a past Grand Prize winner of the International Imitation Hemingway Competition.
Traxler's poetry and fiction have appeared widely, including in The Nation, Slate, Agni, Ploughshares, The Boston Review, The Kenyon Review, Ms. Magazine, The Radcliffe Quarterly, Hanging Loose, Tikkun, Glimmer Train, The American Voice, The Los Angeles Times Literary Supplement, The San Francisco Chronicle, New Letters, and in Ted Kooser's American Life in Poetry newspaper column.
Her essays have appeared in Newsweek and The Daily Beast, on Boston University's AgniBlog, on 3Quarks Daily, and in the anthologies Night Errands: How Poets Use Dreams (University of Pittsburgh Press), and Grandmothers: Granddaughters Remember (Syracuse University Press). Her award-winning Hemingway parody was included in The Best of Bad Hemingway: Award Anthology (Mariner Books).
Traxler's poetry has been included in numerous anthologies, including the Best American Poetry series; Robert Pinsky's A Handbook of Heartbreak; e: the Emily Dickinson Award Anthology from Universities West Press; Andrew Motion's A Ring of Words; and she received special mention in the Pushcart Prize Anthology for her 7-poem sequence, "Finitudes," which originally appeared in New Letters.
Literary Agent: Gail Hochman, Brandt and Hochman Literary Agents, 1501 Broadway, New York, NY 10036