Kim Addonizio

writer musicmaker maquisard

Kim Addonizio is the author of six poetry collections, two novels, two story collections, and two books on writing poetry, The Poet’s Companion (with Dorianne Laux) and Ordinary Genius. She has received fellowships from the NEA and Guggenheim Foundation, two Pushcart Prizes, and was a National Book Award Finalist for her collection Tell Me. Her latest books are Mortal Trash: Poems (W.W. Norton) and a memoir-in-essays, Bukowski in a Sundress (Penguin). She recently collaborated on a chapbook, The Night Could Go in Either Direction (Slapering Hol Press) with poet Brittany Perham. Addonizio also has two word/music CDs:  Swearing, Smoking, Drinking, & Kissing (with Susan Browne) and My Black Angel, a companion to My Black Angel: Blues Poems & Portraits, featuring woodcuts by Charles D. Jones. She teaches and performs internationally


Addonizio is brash and tender, pissed off and funny, well armored and wounded. Emotions, bravado, and empathy run high in her award-garnering poetry and novels, and she now taps into the wellsprings of her creativity in this rollicking and wrenching memoir-in-essays. . . . Always vital, clever, and seductive, Addonizio, a secular Anne Lamott, a spiritual aunt to Lena Dunham, delivers shock and awe, humor and pathos with panache.
— Booklist
Kim Addonizio’s voice lifts from the page, alive and biting―unleashing wit with a ruthless observation.
— San Francisco Book Review
Kim Addonizio’s Mortal Trash is a brash, irreverent look at the physical and emotional refuse produced in our self-absorbed culture.
— Washington Post


Only Kim Addonizio could mix Greek myths with psychopharmacology, Dante with a pinging iPhone, heartbreak with plastic pollution, and create a rare cocktail of wit and desire..
— San Francisco Chronicle
In an eclectic collection…Addonizio shrewdly and gracefully blends tragedy and humor.
— Publishers Weekly
National Book Award finalist Addonizio…fills her latest collection not with trash but with edgy free verse (along with several sonnets) about contemporary situations of love and loss shot through with allusions to classic poets.
— Library Journal
I don’t just hear the blues in these poems. I see the blues in these poems. I see myself in these poems.
— Lucinda Williams
One of America’s best poets…With casual anguish, resilience, and unrelenting beauty, Kim Addonizio writes a though human survival in the raw requires a moral refutation of existential melancholy.
— Major Jackson
Peerless poetry…reliably remarkable clarity, edge, and emotion.
— Terrance Hayes
It is with warm anticipation that I greet a new book by Kim Addonizio…Her fifth collection…is as dark and sardonic as the title suggests.
— Lilith
Addonizio doesn’t do pretty; beneath her considerable wit is a wickedly sharp edge…A winner.
— Library Journal
Lucifer at the Starlite is one of the best reasons to read poetry today.
— Thomas Lux
… should help her attract the wide audience she explicitly invites.
— Publishers Weekly
Addonizio’s finely crafted and irreverent poems are timeless in their inquiries into love and mortality, rife with mystery and ambivalence, and achingly eloquent in their study of the conflictful union of body and soul.
— Booklist
The sheer pleasure these poems make of language, both in turns of phrase and in swathes of extended metaphor, animates and makes convincing what could become simply fashionable cynicism and street-smart bravado.
— Leslie Ullman, Poetry
Kim Addonizio’s poems are stark mirrors of self-examination, and she looks into them without blinking.
— Billy Collins
Told in the cracked, smoky voice of someone who has loved and lost a lot and has come out the stronger for it these poems…crackle with energy yet do not betray the slightest slackening of craft.
— Library Journal
[A] well-paced, readable book; Addonizio has a natural gift for pacing. She also achieves a novelistic detachment rare for poets. She refuses to romanticize her characters but also never loses sympathy with their humanity.
— Washington Post Book World
One of the wonderful things about Jimmy & Rita is that Kim Addonizio never imposes herself in any way, so the poems sing themselves into us….I think of them and there is a sense of sadness within me. Yet I think of what Addonizio has accomplished and I feel joy.
— Hubert Selby, Jr
…a gritty sequence of deeply moving narrative poems… Addonizio…writes in gritty and graphic detail, but she makes us care about this special pair of lovers.
— Library Journal
Kim Addonizio’s work is distinguished by two of the rarest qualities in American poetry: a sense of dramatic life on the page and a sense of class consciousness… a book that streams with the fragmented unity, pace and visceral immediacy of a film.
— Stuart Dybeck


An unrelenting, authentic, literary midnight confession.
— Kirkus Reviews
It would be easy to compare Kim Addonizio’s memoir Bukowski in a Sundress with the writings of Anne Lamott or the humor of Amy Schumer, or to match her to, as she writes, “ ‘Walt Whitman in a sparkly tutu,’ or possibly ‘Emily Dickinson with a strap-on’ “ but that would not do justice to Addonizio and her quirky, irreverent, incredibly funny writing.
— Shelf Awareness


…[a] lovely short story collection.
— New York Times' Shortlist
…so tight and polished that it’s hard to believe that this is only Addonizio’s second collection.
— Library Journal
searingly beautiful, evocative, and surprising….a collection in the best tradition of Robert Coover and Angela Carter.
— Katie Crouch
Poet Addonizio brings her hip, dark sensibility to a second collection of short fiction.
— Kirkus Reviews
The Palace of Illusions is a collection of many delights, its mirrors reflecting and magnifying the contradictions and conflicts inherent in human experience.
— San Francisco Chronicle
Kim Addonizio writes like Lucinda Williams sings, with hard-earned grit and grace about the heart’s longing for love and redemption…one of the finest American novels I’ve read in some time.
— Andre Dubus III
Even during the harshest times, the beauty of Addonizio’s language binds the reader to a story that unfolds in the shadows of Denis Johnson’s and Charles Bukowski’s works…Her characters’ desperate lives are rendered with striking delicacy.
— Publishers Weekly
Addonizio creates mesmerizing characters… As she tells this bluesy tale of bad luck and addiction, sleazy hotels and sexual violence, biblical rain and sudden reprieves, Addonizio zeroes in on the power of love and life’s insistence.
— Donna Seaman, Booklist
Little Beauties encases a real, thumping heart between the pages. Let the lovefest begin.
— Elle
A wonderfully optimistic, quirky testament to the power of chance encounters.
— O Magazine
Like Anne Lamott...Addonizio seems to sense how to pull back from sentimentality, be it with humor, honesty or clarity of vision.
— Los Angeles Times
I found myself rooting for them — a real trick to pull off — rooting for each, especially that new baby...
— Alan Cheuse, NPR's All Things Considered
These are voices that will continue to resonate long after you’ve read the last page of the book.
— Jenny McPhee
Little Beauties tackles tough subjects…with unflinching clarity, lyricism and humor.
— San Francisco Chronicle
The brutal walks alongside the transcendent in nearly all of Addonizio’s stories, giving them a depth and range that is truly impressive, especially in their brevity. Most of these stories are roughly six or seven pages long, some no more than a few paragraphs, but they are instantly gripping. As a collection, they cross a wide field as well, and in stories like “The Gift” and “A Brief History of Condoms,” Addonizio uses her agility to bring wit and humor into the equation. Added together, these stories display a woman who is in full awareness and who maintains a tight control on her perceptions.

Craft Books & Anthologies

Addonizio…is anything but ordinary…Here, she offers a way in for new poets struggling to unfold the images and phrases suggests numerous instructive and fun exercise to trigger ideas for poetry.
— Library Journal
... rigorous, generous, in love with the art of poetry…and maybe it couldn’t have been written by anyone but Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux, two passionate poets.
— Marie Howe
… an impassioned exploration of poetry writing that addresses subject matter, craft, and the writing life…. a terrific section of writing exercises…This is a fine book indeed.
— Jane Steinberg,
…head and shoulders above the rest… the authors offer everything a poet needs.
— Library Journal
An intelligent, lucid conversation―between the authors and between them and us.”—Gerald Stern
— Gerald Stern