Poetry Books

The Burning Where Breath Used to Be 
David Robert Books, September 2020

“Ms. Karetnick has a fascinating self. She can speak Modernese – cite Snapchat and Facebook, even use an emoji – without coming off as trying to be hip. By the same token, you don’t question the scientific terms she uses from time to time because she’s convinced you they’re the perfect choices. If that were all, I’d admire her brilliance and stop there. But it isn’t all, because she’s also emotionally honest.”

Lola Haskins, author of Asylum: Improvisations on John Clare

“What I love about Jen Karetnick’s poems, and particularly the poems in this book, is that each one has its own keen mind. As readers, we experience this mind witnessing, conversing, debating and reckoning with the world, or not. These poems are vital for the soul the way lungs are vital for the breath.”

Elizabeth Jacobson, author of Not into the Blossoms and Not into the Air

“Jen Karetnick’s The Burning Where Breath Used to Be is daring, inventive and prescient. I love how poems like ‘Chronic Illness Ars Poetica’ and ‘Hives’ evoke the pleasure and labor of disability. This is a remarkable book.”

Jillian Weise, author of Cyborg Detective

The Crossing Over
Split Rock Review, 2019

The Crossing Over Cover
*winner of the 2018 Split Rock Review Chapbook Competition

“This book is our most awaited guide for understanding what it means to be human among humans – or as the poet says, for learning the rites for search and rescue. As she says in ‘Internment’: ‘Before the cleansing of all that is corporeal, the rites for search and rescue.’ And, in order to command this search, Karetnick, like the most masterful of guides and poets, is willing to lead us and to look where most of us cannot. For this book, for this guide, this poet, we are right to be grateful.’”

M.B. McLatchey, author of The Lame God

“Boat as metaphor for what we carry. Boat as vessel (woman), boat as adventure (man and conquest). Boat as witness to abominations that befall immigrants and refugees. Boat lost at sea, “a brief dream the ocean/once had”—as we all are sometimes lost. Boat as death, driven by Charon. Jen Karetnick’s The Crossing Over is a political, moral journey, a tour de force built by sonnets, lists, a ghazal, a concrete poem, a pantoum, and literary magic.”

Denise Duhamel, author of Scald

The Treasures That Prevail
Whitepoint Press, 2016

The Treasures That Prevail cover
*finalist for the 2017 Poetry Society of Virginia Book Prize

“That ominous sloshing sound Jen Karetnick hears in her sleep in the warmer, ever-fatter Atlantic spilling over the brim of her Miami hometown. Denial be damned, this collection confronts climate change and poetically spotlights the damage awaiting low-lying coastal areas if meaningful action isn’t taken now.”

Foreword Reviews, 2016

On encountering the hurricane-force voice of The Treasures That Prevail’s opening poem, I knew I was going to dive in deeply, coming up for air only when necessary. Jen Karetnick turns a steely, unflinching eye toward the wrecks we are complicit in creating: in the environments of the land we inhabit, in the relationships we cultivate, and in the places we make our homes—both those we are unwilling to ever leave and those we are forced to flee… This collection is worth holding onto.

Barbara Harroun, Mom Egg Review, August 2016

American Sentencing
Winter Goose Publishing, 2016

AmericanSentencing_FLAT high res
*long-listed for the 2017 Julie Suk Award and the 2017 Lascaux Prize

The poems… display her modern mastery of an ancient form, and some of her other experiments will take your breath away.

Sander Zulauf, Editor Emeritus, Journal of New Jersey Poets and Poet Laureate, Diocese of Newark

These poems are quick bright things, which do not come to confusion. Karetnick’s rich glossary of symptoms, diagnoses and prescriptions yields an image of spirit at odds with the body on which it must depend. Sometimes angry, sometimes wickedly funny, her poems are unsparing, surprising, and always sharply intelligent.

Cynthia Huntington, author of Heavenly Bodies and former Poet Laureate of New Hampshire

“The collection is an eerily accurate portrayal of how our culture encourages us to push through our tortured thoughts and strains. That we, like the cover of the collection alluding to the Garden of Eden, are sentenced to life on Earth with inescapable pain. But just because it is called American Sentencing does not mean it cannot be enjoyed by anyone else who is human. “

Gretchen Gales, Quail Bell Magazine, May 2016

“Whether playful or grim, the poems in American Sentencing are open and insightful. Karetnick is skilled at taking ordinary emotions and experiences and buoying them with striking images to create nuanced works. In American Sentencing, she takes this a step further by commingling themes of unseen diseases with unmet expectations and untimely death. A difficult trio, but by meeting them head-on, Karetnick manages to succeed.”

Bonnie Losak, Florida Book Review, 2017 

Brie Season
Kelsay Books, 2014

Brie Season 1

Playful, witty, and exuberantly alive to the joys, griefs, flavors, textures, confusions and enthusiasms of middle-class American life in the 21st century, Jen Karetnick’s deft and delightful poems offer a rich cornucopia of pleasures for the senses and for the soul. Her vivid formal intelligence and keen eye for detail, combined with a deep yearning to live well–to waste not a moment of our precious gifts of life and love—lend her poems a unique and even startling power, and remind us that “When you jump the surf/ during happy hour on Palm Beach/with a cocktail in your hand,/ the curls are raw meringue/cresting a curd of sand. Palate-stung,/you must taste each wave as it comes…” The ordinary world is vivified in these smart poems, in fresh and vigorous ways.

Michael Hettich, author of Systems of Vanishing (University of Tampa Press, spring 2014)

It is rare to find a collection of poems which combine sensuality, wisdom and wit, but Karetnick’s new collection: Brie Season does just that. Though her work is laced with acerbic wit and gentle wisdom, the inherent sensuousness of food and drink is the lens through which much of this book is filtered. Her exquisitely crafted poems reach in and touch the reader on a deeply personal level, then expand out to include perceptive geopolitical commentary. There is no doubt that this work will delight gourmands, but there is more than enough in this feast of words to please every reader.

Susannah W. Simpson, author of Geography of Love & Exile (Cervena Barva Press, fall 2014)

Prayer of Confession
Finishing Line Press, 2014

Prayer of Confession

Landscaping for Wildlife
Big Wonderful Press, 2012

Landscaping for Wildlife
*winner of the 2008 Portlandia Chapbook Poetry Prize

Bud Break at Mango House
Portlandia Press, 2008


Necessary Salt
Pudding House Publications

For more see my Amazon Author Page or contact me at kavetchnik@gmail.com
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