Awards: Lannan Foundation Fellowship, Academy of American Poets, PEN American Center, Public Poetry Project
Born in Oregon in 1975, poet Katie Ford began writing at the age of nineteen, while earning her BA in English from Whitman College. Soon after, she earned her Master’s in Divinity from Harvard. Ford went on to pursue her Master’s in Fine Arts (MFA), with a concentration in poetry, from the Iowa’s Writers Workshop. Along with published poetry collections—including Deposition (2002), Storm (2008),and others—her individual poems and essays can be found in many contemporary journals and reviews. In 2013, Ford was a featured poet in the Public Poetry Project of the Pennsylvania Center for the Book.
Katie Ford was born in Portland, Oregon, on April 29, 1975, to Mary and Michael Ford. She has two siblings, Kristin and Brian.
While a 19-year-old student at Whitman College earning her BA in English, Ford began writing poetry. In an interview with Devil’s Lake magazine board member, Nancy Reddy, Ford attributed her growth as a writer to poet, author, and playwright, Tess Gallagher: “In my last year of college, I studied under Tess Gallagher, and that was utterly formative for my ideas about poetry and poetics, especially in terms of lyricism and figuration.”
Ford also credits poet Jorie Graham for inspiration during her studies at Harvard, where she earned a Master’s in Divinity and began work on her first poetry collection, Deposition (2002). She then went on to receive a Master’s in Fine Arts (MFA) from the University of Iowa.
Ford’s individual poems have appeared in many journals and reviews, such as The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Poets & Writer, and Pleiades. She has three published works, including Deposition, Colosseum, and Storm. Her debut collection, Deposition, confronts God, violence, and Christian belief.
Her book Colosseum, which was named “Best Book of 2008” by Publishers Weekly,explores the theme of ruination and pulls from Ford’s personal experiences as a resident of New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina drove thousands out of their homes. The New York Times Book Review stated that Ford’s poetry, “possess[es] the veiled brilliance of stained glass windows seen at night.” With short lyrical poems, Storm continues on the theme of ruination with a focus on the efforts to escape New Orleans in the aftermath of the hurricane.
"Katie Ford has emerged as one of the most recognizably thoughtful poets of her talented generations," says David Rigsby of The Cortland Review. "Manifesting a rigorous aesthetic combining allusiveness with inwardness, her poems mark the multivalent ways by which the moral conscience registers dailiness with history (also myth) and how consciousness itself perceives the relationship of the small to the overwhelming, the weak to the deadly, the remote to the pressing moment, the insignificant to the topical.”
In 2018, Ford published If You Have to Go, a collection its publisher, Graywolf Press, says "taps into the radical power of the sonnet form, bending it into a kind of metaphysical and psychological outcry."
From 2005-2009, Katie Ford served as the poetry editor of the New Orleans Review and taught at Loyola University and Reed College. She has also served as an Assistant Professor at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and as of this writing teaches at the University of California, Riverside.
Deposition. Minneapolis: Graywolf Press, 2002.
Colossuem. Minneapolis: Graywolf Press, 2008.
Storm, a chapbook. Grosse Pointe Farms: Marick Press, 2008.
Blood Lyrics. Minneapolis: Graywolf Press, 2014.
If You Have to Go. Minneapolis: Graywolf Press, 2018.