“Spitfire”, “devotedly irreverent”, and “elegantly devastating” are just some of the phrases used to describe poet and memoirist Mary Karr. In person or on the page, Karr is undeniably distilled. Seeking “the poetry that made our pulses race, that could flood us with conviction and alter our lives,” she wrings from her reader sorrow, faith, and joy all enmeshed in the same beautifully brutal depictions of reality.
Sinners Welcome (Harper Collins, 2006) is the latest of Karr’s four volumes of poetry. Karr’s first memoir, The Liars Club, won the PEN Martha Albrand Award for best first nonfiction and was a finalist for The National Book Critics Circle Award. It was on The New York Times bestseller list for more than a year and a “best book” for more than thirty newspapers and magazines. The sequel, Cherry, about her adolescence, was also a bestseller. Karr’s two memoirs are credited with sparking the explosion in that genre.
Her work appears in such magazines as The New Yorker and The Atlantic. She is the Jesse Truesdell Peck Professor of Literature at Syracuse University. She lives in Syracuse and New York City.