Laura Kasischke Analysis

Other literary forms

(Poets and Poetry in America)

While foremost a poet, Laura Kasischke (kah-SHIHSK) also has found success with another literary form, the novel. Her 1996 debut novel, Suspicious River, tells the story of a young woman who works at a motel and provides sexual services for an extra fee. The level of sex and violence in the work was unusual for a literary novel. Kasischke followed that novel with others that were less explicit but not necessarily lighter in tone, including The Life Before Her Eyes (2002), which dealt with the aftermath of a high school shooting. Both of these novels were made into feature-length films. Some of her novels have been translated into French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Russian, Romanian, German, and Japanese. She has also written two books for young adults, Boy Heaven (2006) and Feathered (2008). Kasischke’s stories and poems have been published in Poetry, Ploughshares, The New Republic, Iowa Review, Kenyon Review, New England Review, Georgia Review, Harper’s, and American Poetry Review.


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Laura Kasischke has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as a U.S. Artists Grant, all for her poetry writing. She won the Elmer Holmes Bobst Award for Emerging Writers for Wild Brides, the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay di Castagnola Award for Housekeeping in a Dream, the Beatrice Hawley Award for Fire and Flower, and the Juniper Prize for Dance and Disappear, as well as several Pushcart Prizes. Her academic endeavors have been honored with the Class of 1923 Memorial Award for Outstanding Teaching (2008) and the Henry Russel Award for scholarship and teaching (2009), both from the University of Michigan.


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Factor, Jenny. Review of Fire and Flower. Prairie Schooner 75, no. 2 (Summer, 2001): 183-185. Factor analyzes the works of three women authors, including Kasischke, focusing on the impact of motherhood on their writing. More than a book review, it is a thoughtful deconstruction of Kasischke’s work and how having a child has changed that work.

Holley, Margaret. Review of Wild Brides. Michigan Quarterly Review 32, no. 1 (Winter, 1993): 150-151. Holley reviews Kasischke’s first collection of poems, which introduced the themes she would continue to develop in her later works.

Krouse, Erika. “My So-Called Death.” Review of The Life Before Her Eyes. The New York Times, May 12, 2002, pp. 7, 17. This review provides valuable insight into Kasischke’s writing style and treatment of subject matter.

Lee, Don. “Postscripts (Laura Kasischke and R. T. Cotton, Cohen Award Winners).” Ploughshares 32 (Fall, 2006): 209-303. This brief article contains some of the most personal biographical information about the author available.