K A I C O G G I N
Kai Coggin is the author of MINING FOR STARDUST (FlowerSong Press 2021), INCANDESCENT (Sibling Rivalry Press 2019), WINGSPAN (Golden Dragonfly Press 2016), and PERISCOPE HEART (Swimming with Elephants Publications 2014), as well as a spoken word album SILHOUETTE (2017). She is a queer woman of color who thinks Black Lives Matter, a teaching artist in poetry with the Arkansas Arts Council, and the host of the longest running consecutive weekly open mic series in the country—Wednesday Night Poetry. Recently awarded the 2021 Governor’s Arts Award and named “Best Poet in Arkansas” by the Arkansas Times, her fierce and powerful poetry has been nominated four times for The Pushcart Prize, as well as Bettering American Poetry 2015, and Best of the Net 2016 and 2018. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in POETRY, Cultural Weekly, SOLSTICE, Bellevue Literary Review, Entropy, SWWIM, Split This Rock, Sinister Wisdom, Lavender Review, Luna Luna, Blue Heron Review, Tupelo Press, West Trestle Review, and elsewhere. Coggin is Associate Editor at The Rise Up Review. She lives with her wife and their two adorable dogs in the valley of a small mountain in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas.
A Deeper Look:
Kai Coggin is a widely published poet and the author of four poetry collections. PERISCOPE HEART, her stunning debut, was released by Swimming with Elephants Publications, (2014). Her second book is entitled Wingspan, a deeper dive into the soul and sound of this woman, this activist, this lover, this spirit. Wingspan was released on Earth Day, April 22, 2016, by Golden Dragonfly Press. 2017 brought the poet off the page into sound, with the much anticipated release of her debut spoken world album SILHOUETTE. Her third book INCANDESCENT (2019) brings fire and passion to combat the darkness of our times. She is proud to partner with Sibling Rivalry Press to bring this light of resistance, rebellion, and beauty into the world. And now, with much excitement, Kai's newest collection MINING FOR STARDUST will be released from FlowerSong Press November 11, 2021. 11.11. This is her most powerful and meaningful collection to date.
Kai was born Kimberly Katherine Coggin on New Year's Day 1980 in Bangkok, Thailand. She was raised in Southwest Houston (Alief), and is currently a happy blip in the 3-million-acre Ouachita National Forest in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas.
Before transitioning to a career in writing, Kai was first a 9th and 10th grade English teacher, who took her students outside for poetry and drum circles on the lawn, and built a life-size balcony, and meter-stick-aluminum-foil-wrapped swords in her classroom for Romeo and Juliet. People wondered about her methods… but the students learned… and loved her. She convinced her students of the power of their own writing with a poetry and persuasive writing project that culminated with a visit from the internationally acclaimed author of The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros.
Kai believes that learning is a personal journey for everyone, that cannot be constricted and confined by the classifications and labels of standardized testing. She strives to, someday, help change the paradigm of education as a whole. In Houston, despite (or because of) her radical methods, she was recognized as Teacher of the Year, District Secondary Teacher of the Year, and was a top five finalist for Regional Teacher of the Year out of 85,000 teachers.
Presently, with her focus shifted more towards poetry, Kai is a specialized Teaching Artist of Creative Writing, on the Arts in Education Roster for the Arkansas Arts Council and Arkansas Learning for the Arts. She was recently awarded the 2021 Governor's Arts Award for Arts in Education, for her work in bringing poetry to over 3500 K-12 students a year around the state. She also teaches an adult creative writing class at Emergent Arts called Words & Wine.
Kai holds a Bachelor of Arts in Poetry and Creative Writing from Texas A&M University. She lives her life steeped in the values and perspectives of the Ancient Wisdom. She writes poems of love, spirituality, the striving of the soul, feminism, race, sexuality, global injustice, metaphysics, and beauty. Everything that she writes is infused with Heart and Light.
Kai knows that words hold the potential to create monumental and global change, and she uses her words like a sword of Beauty. She can be found most Wednesdays at a local venue or virtually through the pandemic, reading her poems into an open mic, hoping the wind carries her words out to the world.
“Kai Coggin’s heart and soul shine out in every poem she writes - blazingly, brilliantly, fiercely, affectingly… I always feel in a better mood when I read anything by her.”
Naomi Shihab Nye, Young People’s Poet Laureate, Poetry Foundation