Karen Greenbaum-Maya

Karen Greenbaum-Maya (Poetry) | Los Angeles, CA

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Karen Greenbaum-Maya worked as a clinical psychologist for 35 years. She earned her B.A. from Reed College in 1973 (German Language and Literature) and her Ph.D. from the California School of Professional Psychology in 1982 (Clinical Psychology). As a psychologist, she performed psychotherapy and evaluations, supervised and taught doctoral interns, and examined candidates for licensure in psychology for the State of California. Besides these professional activities, she reviewed restaurants for the Claremont Courier for five years, sometimes in heroic couplets, sometimes imitating Hemingway. She has managed a congressional campaign, has sung in a local opera company, and has developed cookie recipes for commercial use. She returned to poetry in 2008. Since then, her work has appeared in journals and anthologies including B O D Y, Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Comstock Poetry Review, Off the Coast, Otoliths, Naugatuck Poetry Review, and Measure. She has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize. She co-hosts Fourth Sundays, a monthly poetry series in Claremont, California, and “Garden of Verses,” an annual day-long reading of nature poems in Claremont’s Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden. Kattywompus Press publishes her two chapbooks, Burrowing Song (2013) and Eggs Satori (2014). Kelsay Books publishes her full-length collection The Book of Knots and their Untying (2016).


The Book of Knots and Their Untying (Kelsay Books, 2016). Poetry.


  • Garden Satori (Kattywompus Press, 2014). Poetry.
  • Burrowing Song (Kattywompus Press, 2013). Poetry.

Blurbs, Press & Reviews

Open the Book of Knots and their Untying, and you will find yourself pleasantly tangled in the complicated worlds of Karen Greenbaum-Maya. You’ll find yourself within concentric circles of past and present, countries, languages and foods, exotic and ordinary. You’ll meet relatives eccentric, the rich and famous, and strange strangers. The poems in Book of Knots are crafty and intelligent, and the same poem can be at once heartbreaking and hilarious, wacky and profound—enjoy!
—Richard Garcia, author of The Persistence of Objects, The Flying Garcias, Rancho Notorious, Chickenhead, The Other Odyssey, and, Porridge

Smart and funny, Karen Greenbaum-Maya’s poems in Knots and Their Untying plunge us into a knotty world of correlations between the perfect and the un-perfect. Self-to-self — our physical bodies in all their freedoms and entrapments; love-and-defiance – how family and generations chase us from the present as they angle to tie us down in the future; and rational thought — ropey: straight or tangled. And all this rendered in language that snarls and unfurls in slightly naughty gifted song.
—Charlotte Davidson, author of Fresh Zebra

These poems are physical—they hitchhike through foreign countries; skin their knees on rough pavement; dance; eat eggs, pumpernickel, peaches. They also revel in those most mysterious and fleeting things we call words, and our beautiful efforts to find the language for things. This is a book for the lived-in world—and for people who are ready to be moved by it.
—David Ebenbach, author of The Artist’s Torah, We Were the People Who Moved, and, Into the Wilderness

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