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Karen Schnurstein is an emerging American poet. Her recent work has been featured in Bi Women Quarterly and Adelaide Literary Magazine; Canadian magazines Halcyon Days and Founder's Favourites; and U.K.-based Steel Jackdaw. Her first publication was in The Ibis Head Review, and she has pieces forthcoming in The Looking Glass Review, 100 Subtexts Magazine, and Encore Magazine. In 2019 Adelaide named her poem "Sunflowers in August" finalist for Best Poem in their annual contest.


Her early poetry has appeared in Rat's Ass Review, The Dawn Review, New Feathers Anthology, and Hare's Paw Literary Journal. Folly Journal (New Zealand) longlisted her college poem "Little Brown Girl" in a 2023 contest, and The Dawn Review nominated her early poem "Safely Tonight, or Every Woman's Blues" for the 2023 Best of the Net Anthology. Additionally, New Feathers Anthology designated her college poem "The Phone Call" first runner up for their award last year.


Karen holds a B.A. in Creative Writing with a minor in World Literature from Western Michigan University, where she studied with Nancy Eimers, Jaimy Gordon, and Mark Halliday. She owes much of her literary life to her high school Language Arts instructor, Louise Garcia Harrison; however, scholar, writer, and poet Mark Richardson was her first literature professor. Louise gave the key, and Mark opened the door.


Like the poet Theodore Roethke, she was born and reared in Saginaw, Michigan. She spent much of her adolescence in the dressing and green rooms and wings and on the stage of Pit and Balcony, Saginaw's community theater. A Michigander for most of her life, she has also lived in San Francisco. Now she and her two affectionate pussycats reside in northern Indiana, but they are on the lookout for new stamping ground.


The Dawn Review interviewed Karen about her poem "Safely Tonight, or Every Woman's Blues." Read the blog article here.


Karen keeps a Substack diary regarding her literary journey. Read, share, and subscribe to it for free here