Skip to main content
Kathleen Fraser portrait

Kathleen Fraser grew up in Oklahoma, Colorado, and California, graduating from Occidental College, then working in New York as an editorial assistant for Mademoiselle for a time before taking up her writing and teaching career full time. While teaching at San Francisco State University from 1972 to 1992, she directed The Poetry Center and founded The American Poetry Archives. Fraser was co-founder and co-editor, of the feminist poetics newsletter (HOW)ever. From 1983-1991, Fraser published and edited HOW(ever) as "a journal focused on innovative writing by contemporary women and neglected texts by American modernist women writers." Barbara Guest, Frank O’Hara, Lorine Niedecker, and George Oppen are among her influences. She now divides her time between San Francisco and Rome. Fraser has long been committed to the experimental tradition. She commented at one point that it was Charles Olson's “declared move away from the narcissistically probing, psychological defining of self –so seductively explored by Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton and Robert Lowell in the early and mid-1960s, and by their avid followers for at least a generation after—that provided a major alternative ethic of writing for women poets. While seriously committed to gender consciousness, a number of us carried an increasing skepticism towards any fixed rhetoric of the poem, implied or intoned. We resisted the prescription of authorship as an exclusively unitary proposition—the essential `I’ positioned as central to the depiction of reflectivity. As antidote to a mainstream poetics that enthusiastically embraced those first dramatic `confessional’ poems, Olson (in "PROJECTIVE VERSE") had already proposed `getting rid of the lyrical interference of the individual ego.’”