Faculty Spotlight: Kimberly Priest

Headshot of Kimberly Priest

Our faculty spotlight this week is Kimberly Ann Priest! Kimberly is the author of Slaughter the One Bird (Sundress 2021), Parrot Flower (Glass 2021), Still Life (PANK 2020), and White Goat Black Sheep (Finishing Line Press 2018). Her writing carefully observes the intersections of gender violence, narrative identities, embodiment, trauma, and ecology, as well as survival, wildness, joy and grief. Winner of the New American Press 2019 Heartland Poetry Prize, her work has appeared in journals such as North Dakota Quarterly, Salamander, Slipstream, The Berkeley Poetry Review, Borderlands, and many others. She is an associate poetry editor for the Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry and Embody reader for The Maine Review.

“One of my poems, ‘The World is Whatever We Choose to Make It,’ names ways that we sometimes alter a narrative to cope or inspire hope. Sometimes this practice can keep us from realizing a truth, preferring to be ignorant. But this practice can also be used to help us find inspiration in the worst of circumstances—not changing a narrative, but choosing which part of the storyline we will invigorate. I’ve made a regular practice of using art to focus my energies in the most difficult circumstances. This year, in the midst of pandemic isolation, I’ve turned to my poetry and watercolors with new fervor, encouraging my soul to create whatever enriches well-being in the midst of wide-spread destruction. This doesn’t change reality, but it does help me stay sane!” 

Kimberly Ann Priest

As a member of the MSU community, Kimberly has contributed to poetry events, workshops, and exhibits dedicated to survivors of sexual assault, including those impacted by the Nassar scandal, and her classroom practice is influenced by an awareness of core language, naming, and compassionate witness.

Thank you, Kimberly, for sharing your work with WRAC!