Sarah Kay


Sarah Kay is a writer, performer and educator from New York City. She has shared her poems in cornfields in Iowa, an orthodontist's office in Nepal, a ship on a fjord in Norway, a nightclub in Singapore, the Royal Danish Theatre in Denmark, Carnegie Hall in New York City, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, the back rooms of dive-bars, middle school gymnasiums and once on top of someone's dining room table. She is the 2022 New Arizona Fellow at New America and the author of four books of poetry: No Matter the Wreckage, B, The Type, and All Our Wild Wonder. And she is the founder and co-director of Project VOICE, an organization that uses poetry to entertain, educate and inspire students and teachers worldwide. Source


Where is my prize for most unreliable narrator?

I would never lie to you, but I lie to me all the time.

I say, Look at that bird, this childhood memory,

that light falling on his body in the steam,

and say, Boom. A stone truth. A poem. And you trust me.

You trace your finger along the constellation I’m insisting into existence

and let my rickety astrology determine the weather.

But this is all dominos.

I am just trying to place enough words between now and The End

to trick The End into coming later.

I slip single doses of myself into the pockets of everyone I love,

worried about serving sizes, hoping they do not sour once I’m gone.

I spent thirty-two years in New York City

and every metaphor is stacked with taxi cabs and subways.

I spent two weeks in the woods and suddenly every poem swelled

with rhododendrons and the smell of firewood.

I am the most porous sponge that ever sponged.

I throw myself off every emotional cliff and build a pogo stick on the way down.

I am not an optimist but I play one in the group chat.

I don’t know who I think I need absolution from,

but I carry around a shiny report card everywhere I go just in case.

I thought I wanted a boyfriend but I actually wanted an audience.

My father carried dried mushrooms from the market

to the wood table on the front porch so he could watch

the way the late afternoon sun made patterns in their crackled skin

and called my mother out of the house so she could stand next to him

and look at it too. They were so excited, they forgot to close

the screen door and the bugs made a home of the kitchen.

I have never accomplished anything in my life

other than the seven mile run to the lighthouse.

This land—someone else’s, this language—someone else’s,

even the churning fear that pours out of me—an inheritance,

or if not an inheritance, then a reaction—a riverbank

formed out of a rushing past I had nothing to do with.

I make a phone call and when you don’t pick up,

the whole house falls down around me.

I am the center of my own dramatic universe and it appalls me.

In my dream, from somewhere down a hallway of locked doors, a voice asks,

What if you aren’t as bad as you suspect you are?

What if you’ll never be as good as you ache?

And then, softer, in the kind of whisper that wouldn’t even fog the glass,

What if what you are is boring

and alive, what are you going to do then?





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Ars Poetica

Doubt & Fear

Literary Devices:


conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or movie


a literary device that is used in narratives to omit some parts of a sentence or event, which gives the reader a chance to fill the gaps while acting or reading it out.

Interrupted Clause

a word group (a statement, question, or exclamation) that interrupts the flow of a sentence and is usually set off by commas, dashes, or parentheses


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered