Kathryn Cowles

Kathryn Cowles was born in Provo, Utah, and lived there for much of her childhood, aside from a few years in Chicago and a stint in London. She studied at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, earning her BA in English and Print Journalism, MA in British and American Literature, and PhD in Creative Writing with an emphasis in Poetry. She edited RED Magazine and co-edited the poetry section of Quarterly West while in Salt Lake City and co-chaired the Working Dog Reading Series.

Cowles’s first book of poetry, Eleanor, Eleanor, not your real name (Bear Star Press 2009), won the Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Book Prize, the City Weekly Poetry Book Prize for 2009, and the University of Utah’s Graduate Research Award. Poems from her newest book, Maps and Transcripts of the Ordinary World (Milkweed Editions 2020), won the Larry Levis Academy of American Poets Prize, selected by Cole Swensen. The book investigates ways to transcribe the stuff of the ordinary world into language on the page—to transfigure mountains or bird sounds into words—and it splices words with photographs to make poems in which language and image are co-equal, wrestling forces. Her poems, poem-photographs, and collages have been published in such places as Best American Experimental Writing, Boston Review, Colorado Review, Diagram, Free Verse, Georgia Review, New American Writing, Verse, and the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-day.

Cowles is an associate professor of English at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in the Finger Lakes region of New York, and she was an assistant professor at Ohio Northern University from 2009-11. She co-edits the poetry and multi-media Beyond Category sections of Seneca Review and serves as rotating director of the Trias Residency for Writers.



Eleanor, Eleanor, not your real name (Bear Star Press, 2009)

Maps and Transcripts of the Ordinary World (Milkweed Editions, 2021)


Into the Aethernet: Reading with Shira Dentz and Dexter Booth

Gotham Writers "Inside Writing" Interview