Each month, we ask an Indiana Humanities friend or partner how he or she thinks, reads and talks. We feature that someone in the “How do you identify with the humanities” section of our e-newsletter. This month, it’s Karen Kovacik, the Indiana State Poet Laureate (as of Jan. 1, 2012). Karen was born in East Chicago and grew up in Highland, in Lake County. She is the author of four collections of poetry and directs the creative writing program as a professor of English at IUPUI.
Think: The poet Louise Glück once said, “Thinking is feeling.” I like its implication that by thinking critically–learning how to respond to others’ ideas with complexity and thus enabling our own to become deeper, more original–we can be more empathetic, more present to others.
Read: One of the great pleasures is curling up on the couch, cat on lap, with a thick novel or biography or historical text, and reading till dizzy.
Talk: Without the give and take of conversation, of dialogue, how can we learn? It’s no wonder that Socrates taught by question and answer.
Karen is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Metropolis Burning, and her work has received numerous honors, including the Charity Randall Citation from the International Poetry Forum, the Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Prize, and a Creative Renewal Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis. In 2004, she was awarded a Fulbright Research Grant to Poland, and in 2011, she received a fellowship in literary translation from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her translations of contemporary Polish poetry have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals, such as American Poetry Review, Crazyhorse and Southern Review. She’s professor of English at IUPUI, where she directs the creative writing program.