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

Reissued by Stephen F. Austin State University Press. 

Read what the reviewer in Ploughshares had to say when it was first released here

"[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


Finalist for the National Book Award

"Many of the poems in Tell Me can be read as intensified versions of the barroom ballad—songs of good and bad love, songs of the allure and the failure of drink. But regardless of the subject, Kim Addonizio's poems are stark mirrors of self-examination, and she looks into them without blinking.” —Billy Collins


“For all their fleshiness, stiletto stylishness, and rock-and-roll swagger, 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 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.”  –

Kim Addonizio’s voice lifts from the page, alive and biting―unleashing wit with a ruthless observation.
— San Francisco Book Review
In an eclectic collection…Addonizio shrewdly and gracefully blends tragedy and humor.
— Publishers Weekly
Peerless poetry…reliably remarkable clarity, edge, and emotion.
— Terrance Hayes
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
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

Thoughtful, inspiring, and brimming with innovative exercises designed to spark the creative spirit in both beginners and seasoned writers, ORDINARY GENIUS is rich with possibility--a starting point for individual art-making rather than a straightforward how-to. Perfect for writing courses and for individuals craving some literary companionship and inspiration as they tackle the solitary task of writing.

A lyrically intense fifth collection from "one of the nation's most provocative and edgy poets" (San Diego Union-Tribune). With both passion and precision, LUCIFER AT THE STARLITE explores life's dual nature: good and evil, light and dark, suffering and moments of unexpected joy. Whether looking outward to events on the world stage-the war in Iraq, the 2004 Asian tsunami-or inward at struggles with the self, these poems aim at the heart and against the feeling that Lucifer may have already won the day.

A continuation of the story begun with Jimmy & Rita

“Kim Addonizio writes like Lucinda Williams sings, with hard-earned grit and grace about the heart's longing for love and redemption, the kind that can only come in the darkest dark when survival no longer even seems likely. MY DREAMS OUT IN THE STREET is one of the finest American novels I've read in some time, a night-blooming flower you will not be able to put down, so honestly rendered you'll wonder, as you turn the last page, why you feel so much hope.” —Andre Dubus III

"Kim Addonizio's first novel is one of those rare books that is both a complete departure from a writer's previous work and a natural extension of it. Like her four books of poetry, rawly beautiful examinations of the body and heart's excesses, LITTLE BEAUTIES tackles tough subjects -- unequipped mothers, the loss of love, mental illness -- with unflinching clarity, lyricism and humor."
– San Francisco Chronicle

"A wonderfully optimistic, quirky testament to the power of chance encounters." – O magazine

"I found myself rooting for them--a neat trick for the novelist to pull off--rooting for each, especially that new baby..."
– Alan Cheuse, NPR's "All Things Considered"

“Poets Addonizio and Laux warn against cliche, and although textbooks on writing come a dime a dozen these days, theirs is head and shoulders above the rest. There are three main sections: "Subjects for Writing" (e.g. death, the erotic), "The Poet's Craft" (metaphor, rhyme), and "The Writing Life" (self-doubt, writer's block); four separate appendixes list other writing texts, anthologies, marketing tips, and electronic resources...Both knowledgeable and practical in their approach, the authors offer everything a poet needs, including one feature more necessary than ever in the postliterate age yet absent from other writing texts: a gentle yet insistent lesson on grammar. Highly recommended for all libraries.” – Library Journal

DOROTHY PARKER’S ELBOW is the first collection of literary work about tattoos. These stories, poems, and memoirs span the range of human experience, from the awesome to the absurd. Contributors include Ray Bradbury, Rick Moody, Alejandro Murguia, Mark Doty, Darcey Steinke, William T. Vollmann, Elizabeth McCracken, and others—including a prisoner, a private investigator, tattoo artists, and more.