Karen Rigby (Poetry) | Gilbert, AZ
Karen Rigby was born in the Republic of Panama in 1979. She’s the author of Chinoiserie (Ahsahta Press, 2012), which won the 2011 Sawtooth Poetry Prize. Her work has been honored by a 2007 National Endowment for the Arts literature fellowship, a Vermont Studio Center Fellowship, and a Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council artist opportunity grant. Her poetry appears online and in print journals such as FIELD, The London Magazine, Bennington Review, Banshee, Washington Square, and jubilat. She’s read in Tucson, Houston, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Minneapolis and other cities. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University (BA) and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (MFA), she currently lives in Arizona.
Blurbs, Press, & Reviews
Sumptuous yet restrained, Chinoiserie has the intricate beauty and tensile strength of spider silk. Karen Rigby’s deeply imagined poems shimmer with reticence: an oddly seductive privacy that continues to unfold with each reading. Each line ignites subtle explosions of perception; each gesture is exquisite and mysterious, invested with the ineluctable reserves of lyric. Poems this nuanced and strong, wild and grave, seem to be written with a feather and a chisel. They are that delicate, that indelible.
In Karen Rigby’s poems, ideas and things coexist seamlessly. Dense, unpredictable images and beautifully unlikely sounds evoke not only a sensory universe but also a rigorous mind, on which nothing, from art or life, is lost. The eye that looks down in ‘Bathing in the Burned House,’ the ‘I’ that sneaks up in ‘Black Roses,’ the wildly associative eater of ‘Borscht’ – all make the ground shift beneath the reader’s feet. Chinoiserie is a nourishing book, to be savored slowly.
These dense, eerie, sensual narratives are deceptively fabular—Rigby weaves the art of estrangement into even the most seemingly innocuous domestic scenes. Chinoiserie must be read slowly, and savored; it deserves that sort of attention, so alluring are its demands on the senses. There is an intricate delicacy here that puts one in mind of multicolored cobwebs slowly twining around the body. And yet the body doesn’t struggle in the midst of this linguistic matrix, it succumbs; indeed, this is a book to whose beguiling delights one invariably must succumb
—The Huffington Post