Karen Head-Lost on Purpose

Karen Head


Karen Head is the author of Disrupt This!: MOOCs and the Promises of Technology (a nonfiction book about issues in contemporary higher education), as well as five books of poetry, including her latest, Lost on Purpose. She also co-edited the poetry anthology Teaching as a Human Experience: An Anthology of Poetry, and has exhibited several acclaimed digital poetry projects, including her project “Monumental” (part of Antony Gormley’s One and Other Project) which was detailed in a TIMEonline mini-documentary. Her poetry appears in a number of national and international journals and anthologies. In 2010 she won the Oxford International Women’s Festival Poetry Prize. Head has held residencies at the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts-France. She has also taught in study abroad programs in Barcelona, Spain and Oxford, England. She serves as Editor of the international poetry journal Atlanta Review, and as secretary for the Poetry Atlanta Board of Directors. On a more unusual note, she is currently the Poet Laureate of Waffle House—a title that reflects an outreach program to bring arts awareness to rural high schools in Georgia, which has been generously sponsored by the Waffle House Foundation. She is the Associate Chair and an Associate Professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she also serves as the Executive Director of the Naugle Communication Center. For fifteen years, Head has been a visiting artist and scholar at the Institute for American Studies at Technische Universität Dortmund in Germany.


Atlanta's Poetic Voices

Karen Head, Collin Kelley & Dan Veach discuss the legacy and mission of nonprofit Poetry Atlanta and the 25th anniversary of Atlanta Review as well as read work from their new collections.

  • Marriott Conference Center Auditorium
  • Sat 10:00-10:45a Marriott Auditorium

Lost on Purpose

Lost on Purpose is a universe of portals, a collection that offers the rare invitation to be both observer and intimate, taking in the reverie of landscape and lover, travel and art. Eschewing the stark, Head’s poems accomplish the remarkable: though they may seem effortless in their ease, they are distilled, compelling, and evocative, demonstrating a mastery that deepens their interiors with each reading. Refined in its sensibility, Lost on Purpose speaks to both images of solitude—and the honoring of the serene and contemplative—and the reverence of connection. Not without signature moments of Head’s knife-edged wit and observation, these poems move us through a tandem sense of joy and rebelliousness, urging us to step into new ways of being, to challenge our perceptions, “as subtle as the line between look and leap / between what we know and what we believe.” In Paris, in England, in the cosmos and in the garden, through the ekphrastic and the camera lens, Head’s poems open irresistible doors—reminding each of us to echo the affirmation, “where I’m from / will not dictate where I am going.”

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