1934-04-16

JOAN LARKIN is the author of five books of poetry and editor of several anthologies of poetry and nonfiction; she was born on this date. David Ulin of the Los Angeles Times has called her voice “unsentimental, ruthless and clear-eyed. . . . This is poetry without pity, in which despair leads not to degradation but to a kind of grace.”

Larkin’s most recent collection, Blue Hanuman, was published by Hanging Loose Press in 2014. Her previous work includes My Body: New and Selected Poems, recipient of the Publishing Triangle’s 2008 Audre Lorde Award; Legs Tipped with Small Claws, an Argos hand-sewn chapbook; HouseworkA Long SoundSor Juana’s Love Poems/Poemas de Amor, translated with Jaime Manrique; Cold River, winner of the Lambda Award for poetry and the basis for her play The AIDS Passion, produced at the Huntingdon Theater in Boston.

Joan was active in the gay and women’s liberation movements of the ’70s and ’80s as both a publisher and the editor of ground-breaking anthologies, co-founding the women’s independent press Out & Out Books and co-editing Amazon Poetry and Lesbian Poetry with Elly Bulkin and Gay and Lesbian Poetry in Our Time with Carl Morse. Her anthology A Woman Like That was nominated for Publishing Triangle and Lambda awards for nonfiction in 2000. Her honors include the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Award and the Academy of American Poets Fellowship, awarded annually for distinguished poetic achievement by an American poet, as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Larkin earned a B.A. from Swarthmore College, an M.A. in English from the University of Arizona, and an M.F.A. in Playwriting from Brooklyn College. She has served on the writing faculties of Brooklyn, Sarah Lawrence, Goddard, and New England Colleges, as Distinguished Visiting Poet at Columbia College Chicago and Wichita State University, and as Grace Hazard Conkling Writer in Residence at Smith College.

Born in Boston, Joan lived in Brooklyn for more than four decades and currently lives in Essex County, New Jersey. She is the sister of science fiction novelist Donald Moffitt and has a daughter, Kate.