Joan Larkin

b. 1939
Poet, essayist, playwright, and editor Joan Larkin earned a BA at Swarthmore, an MA in English at the University of Arizona, and an MFA in playwriting at Brooklyn College.

Formally assured, frank, and often fearless, Larkin’s poems explore alcoholism, sexuality, and loss. In the Los Angeles Times, David Ulin observed that Larkin’s poems “stake out a territory of relentless self-examination, taking on love and death, family and sexuality in a voice that is unsentimental, ruthless and clear-eyed […] This is poetry without pity, in which despair leads not to degradation but to a kind of grace.”

Larkin is the author of several collections of poetry, including My Body: New and Selected Poems (2007), winner of the Audre Lorde Award from Publishing Triangle; Lambda Literary Award winner Cold River (1997); and Housework (1975). With Jaime Manrique, Larkin translated Sor Juana’s Love Poems (1997), a bilingual edition of Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz’s poetry. Her prose works include If You Want What We Have: Sponsorship Meditations (1998) and Glad Day: Daily Meditations for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender People (1998). Larkin’s plays include The AIDS Passion, The Living, and Wiretap

Larkin co-founded the independent press Out & Out Books. The editor of the anthology A Woman Like That: Lesbian and Bisexual Writers Tell Their Coming Out Stories (2000), she also edited, with Carl Morse, the anthology Gay and Lesbian Poetry in Our Time (1988) and, with Elly Bulkin, the anthologies Lesbian Poetry (1980) and Amazon Poetry (1975).

Larkin has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. She has taught at many colleges and universities, including Drew University, Sarah Lawrence College, New England College, and Goddard College.

Discover this poet’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poems by Joan Larkin

Poems By JOAN LARKIN

Poet Categorization

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

LIFE SPAN 1939–

Biography

Poet, essayist, playwright, and editor Joan Larkin earned a BA at Swarthmore, an MA in English at the University of Arizona, and an MFA in playwriting at Brooklyn College.

Formally assured, frank, and often fearless, Larkin’s poems explore alcoholism, sexuality, and loss. In the Los Angeles Times, David Ulin observed that Larkin’s poems “stake out a territory of relentless self-examination, taking on love and death, family and . . .

Report a problem with this biography

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.