Kathleen Graber grew up in Wildwood, New Jersey, the daughter of small business owners who ran an arcade on the Wildwood boardwalk. She earned a BA in philosophy at New York University, and in 1994, after years of teaching high school English, Graber was inspired while leading a class field trip to the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival to begin writing poems. She subsequently earned an MFA at New York University.
Graber’s poems engage themes of grief, yearning, and the intersection of mental and geographical landscapes. Notes a reviewer for Publishers Weekly, “[W]hat makes Graber’s poems so fresh and wild are the associative slips that happen between the distant past and the urgent present.” In a 2007 interview for Kicking Wind, Graber states, “I do believe poetry changes the world: it changes the world by changing the way we think about the world.”
Graber is the author of The Eternal City (2010), chosen for the Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets and a finalist for the National Book Award, and Correspondence (2006), winner of the Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize and a finalist for the National Poetry Series.
Graber’s honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award, an Artist Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Hodder Fellowship in Creative Writing at Princeton University, and an Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship.
She has taught at New York University and Virginia Commonwealth University.