Poetry Books

The Burning Where Breath Used to Be 

(David Robert Books/WordTech Communications, August 2020)

The Crossing Over

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)
The Treasures That Prevail cover

*finalist for the 2017 Poetry Society of Virginia Book Prize

A variety of formal, free verse and found work, poems from The Treasures That Prevail have appeared in Hobart, Miami Herald, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Poetry Quarterly, Spillway, Verse Daily, and Waxwing. Poems were also awarded and performed at the Houston Poetry Fest 2014 and in the Literary Death Match competition held at the Montana Book Fair 2016, as well as filmed for WLRN radio and public television and at the Miami Book Fair International 2016.

“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)
AmericanSentencing_FLAT high res

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

American Sentencing is an intense examination of the female body and the various indignities and ailments from which it can suffer, as well as an inside look at medicine and healing from the spouse of a physician. The poems are a paean to the spirit that endures chronic, invisible physical and mental illness. Whether with complaint, acceptance, or just a nod toward dark humor, this collection turns on the fine points of grief and laughter, and balances respectfully on the same line as those who suffer. A blend of formal and experimental work, poems from American Sentencing have appeared in Hospital Drive, Poet’s Market 2013, River Styx, Sou’wester, The Spoon River Poetry Review, and Verse Daily, and placed in the Knightville Awards from The New Guard and the Southern Writers Symposium Competition for Poetry.

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

(White Violet Press)
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)
Prayer of Confession

Landscaping for Wildlife

(Big Wonderful Press)
Landscaping for Wildlife

Bud Break at Mango House*

(Portlandia Press)

*winner of the Portlandia Chapbook Poetry Prize, 2008

Necessary Salt

(Pudding House Publications)

For more see my Amazon Author Page and elsewhere

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