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The Multi-Talented Jen Karetnick

The Multi-Talented Jen Karetnick



Introduction to Jen Karetnick.   1:25 min.  Interview:  Raymond Elman.  Post-Production:  Fabian Osorio. Recorded via Zoom:  5/25/2021, Miami.


Poet, writer, author, critic, and educator JEN KARETNICK is the author/co-author of 20 books, including five full-length poetry collections: Hunger Until It’s Pain (Salmon Poetry, forthcoming spring 2023); The Burning Where Breath Used to Be (David Robert Books, 2020); The Treasures That Prevail (Whitepoint Press, September 2016), finalist for the 2017 Poetry Society of Virginia Book Prize; American Sentencing (Winter Goose Publishing, May 2016), long-listed for both the 2017 Julie Suk Award and the 2017 Lascaux Prize; and Brie Season (White Violet Press, 2014). She is also the author of five poetry chapbooks: The Crossing Over (March 2019), winner of the 2018 Split Rock Review Poetry Chapbook Contest, Prayer of Confession (Finishing Line Press, 2014); Landscaping for Wildlife (Big Wonderful Press, 2012); Bud Break at Mango House, winner of the 2008 Portlandia Prize; and Necessary Salt (Pudding House Publications, 2007). In addition, Jen is the editor of two anthologies of Florida poets and writers. Her fifth full-length book of poems, Hunger Until It’s Pain, is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry (spring 2023).

The winner of the 2020 Tiferet Writing Contest for Poetry, the 2017 Hart Crane Memorial Poetry Contest, the 2016 Romeo Lemay Poetry Prize, and the 2015 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Prize, she was also awarded the 2011 “Piccolo in Your Pocket” Poetry Prize from the Alaska Flute Studies Center and received two Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg awards, one in 2008 and one in 2005. Her poems and manuscripts have placed in many competitions, including the 2019 Patricia Cleary Miller Award for Poetry from New Letters; 2019 Brett Elizabeth Jenkins Poetry Contest from Tinderbox Poetry Journal; 2019 Construction Literary Magazine Poetry Contest; 2019 Passager Journal Poetry Contest; 2019 Jacar Press Full-Length Manuscript Competition; 2019 Gold Wake Press Open Reading Period; 2019 Jacar Press Chapbook Competition; 2018 Headway Quarterly’s Inaugural Writing Contest; the 44th New Millennium Awards; 2017 Laurel Review Midwest Chapbook Competition; The Atlantis Poetry Award; Bermuda Triangle Prize; Brittany Noakes Poetry Prize; 2017 Center for Book Arts Letter Press Chapbook Award; 2017 Crab Creek Review Poetry Prize; Palm Beach Poetry Festival “Fish Tales” Competition; River Styx International Poetry Prize; Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Prize; and Sunken Garden Chapbook Competition. Her poems have been nominated for five Pushcart Prizes and four Best of the Net awards.

Jen earned an MFA in poetry from University of California, Irvine and an MFA in fiction from University of Miami. Her poetry, prose, playwriting and interviews have appeared in Amuse-Bouche/Lunch Ticket, The Comstock Review, Crab Orchard Review, Cutthroat, Guernica, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Missouri Review,  One, Painted Bride Quarterly, Poet Lore, Prairie Schooner, Prime Number Magazine, Salamander, Spillway, Terrain, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Under a Warm Green Linden, Verse Daily, and Waxwing, among others. Named a juried poet in 2014 for Houston Poetry Fest, she has performed in an episode of Literary Death Match and read at multiple book fairs, bookstores and literary conferences internationally. Her creative and educational work has been supported by grants and residencies from Artists in Residence in the Everglades; the Maryland Transit Administrations’ Purple Line Writers’ Program; Target; The Betsy-South Beach Writer’s Room; O, Miami; The Solarium International Inn and Hostel in Fort Collins, Colorado; and others. For 2019-2020, she was an Artist-in-Residence in Playwriting for the Deering Estate.

She is co-founder/co-curator of the not-for-profit organization, SWWIM (Supporting Women Writers in Miami), and co-editor of the daily online literary journal, SWWIM Every DayA former adjunct lecturer at Barry University and University of Miami, she was the founding Creative Writing Director for grades 6-12 at Miami Arts Charter School from 2009-2018, where she coached students who achieved the following awards and honors, among others: National Student Poet for the Southeast; National Gold Medal Portfolio from Scholastic Art & Writing; National YoungArts Foundation Finalist, Honorable Mention, and Merit winners in fiction, creative non-fiction, and poetry; Poetry Society of America Louise Louis/Emily F. Bourne Student Poetry Award; Princeton University 10-Minute Play Award; Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth/Creative Minds for creative non-fiction; The Kennedy Center Playwriting Award; Sierra Nevada College Creative Writing Competition for poetry; and Columbia College of Chicago for poetry and creative non-fiction. In addition to teaching formally for 15 years at age levels ranging from university to 4th grade, she has taught workshops for Miami Book Fair and Piano Slam.

Jen worked as a dining critic and food editor for Miami New Times, New Times Broward-Palm Beach, South Florida Magazine, Las Olas Magazine, Lincoln Road Magazine, and MIAMI Magazine from 1992-2020. As a freelance food-travel-lifestyle journalist, she has placed work in many publications throughout the years including,, Heated, Miami Herald,, NPR’s The Salt, Southern Living,, USA Today, and WestJet Magazine. Her online portfolio is located at She is also the author/co-author of several trade books, including the cookbook Mango (University Press of Florida, 2014), which won second place in the Les Dames d’Escoffier International M.F.K. Fisher Award for Excellence in Culinary Writing. Her fourth guidebook, The 500 Hidden Secrets of Miami (Luster), was published in November 2017 and updated October 2019. Her fourth cookbook, Ice Cube Tray Recipes: 75 Easy and Creative Kitchen Hacks for Freezing, Cooking, and Baking with Ice Cube Trays (Skyhorse Publishing), was published in June 2019.

As a journalist and critic, she has received multiple first-place awards from such institutions as Association of Food Journalists, Gourmand Cookbook Awards, North American Travel Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists, and has placed in the Green Eyeshade Award, Greenbrier Scholarship Competition, and Missouri School of Journalism Awards.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Jen lived on the remaining acre of the historic homestead of Miami’s first postmaster with her husband, two college-age children, a variety of rescue animals, and fourteen mango trees for 20 years. She now lives in a restored, historic Tudor house in El Portal, a designated bird sanctuary, in Miami.

The videos below were recorded on 5/25/2021 via Zoom, are organized by Success Factor, and run between 30 seconds and 3 minutes. Click on any video. You must be connected to the Internet to view the videos.




You wear many hats. Which hat did you try on first?



How did you get started in the restaurant industry?



Were you writing poems about food when you were working in restaurants?



Tell us more about “Now Taste This.”



Tell us about co-founding SWWIM (Supporting Women Writers in Miami), with Catherine Esposito Prescott.



Tell us more about the writers residency program at The Betsy Hotel.



You said that SWWIM has published over 800 women poets. What platform do you use?



What is your selection process for SWWIM?



I assume the poems you selected for your O, Miami project were really good.



Do you have an estimation regarding how many women poets there are in the United States?



Who are your role models and influencers?


EMPATHY:  1:26 min.

Talk about the importance of seeing subjects through multiple lenses.


DEVELOP A VOICE:  2:43 min.

Where did you grow up, and what was your first awareness of art of any discipline?



Do you agree that journalism is an art form?



I know many writers who are also professionals in other fields.


RESILIENCE:  2:38 min.

Have you written cook books?



Tell us about the book of your poetry that you expect to publish in 2023.