'Extraordinarily moving and technically flawless...Birth/death is the most mythologically charged binary. We think of Eliot's 'Journey of the Magi': "were we led all that way/for Birth or Death?"...This religiosity of loss and salvation is evident in McCarthy Woolf's collection, where enclosure and transcendence become part of the emotional equation.' Julian Stannard, The Poetry Review
'The stillbirth of Karen McCarthy Woolf's son is the powerful emotional core of this deft, unsentimental collection. A beautiful, painful, pitch-perfect debut.' Kate Kellaway
I curated the SWITCH website for the Young Poets Network and Cape Farewell which showcases visual art, literature and music produced by artists such as Anthony Gormley, Sophie Calle, DJ Spooky and PJ Harvey on their ocean voyages to locations at the forefront of climate change.
'This is a brave book. And much more than that. McCarthy Woolf has made a figurative, general and various beauty out of something terrible. The poems are quite without self-indulgence or sentimentality, but hard in their truth.' David Constantine
I am a Contributing Editor at the international literary journal Wasafiri. In 2010 I co-edited a special issue with Bernardine Evaristo, showcasing new talent.
Dido, a fictionalised account of the life of Dido Belle Lindsay, a mixed-race girl who lived at Kenwood House in Hampstead in the 1760s, was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 as an Afternoon Play.
"When I first came across Karen's work I was struck by her ambition, wit and sureness of touch. I was impressed by the range of voices interwoven in her poems, at times almost like radio dramas in miniature, and by her evident interest in form. These are rare qualities in first collections."
Michael Symmons Roberts
The Lion & The Unicorn was part of the Southbank Centre's 60 year anniversary Festival of Britain celebrations in partnership with English PEN and the Refugee Council. I ran poetry workshops with young refugees, many of whom spoke only a little English, to help them tell their stories.
A London Word Festival poetry installation commission using found text, video vox pops, stills photography and audio sampling.