Katie Peterson writes poetry about how it feels to think in the American West. Her first book, This One Tree (New Issues, 2006), pays close attention to the interaction between seasonal cycles and psychological narratives. Her most recent work explores the daily routines of life at Deep Springs College, the working cattle ranch and experimental school that has been her home for the past three years. At Deep Springs, in rural Inyo County, California, Peterson is the Robert B. Aird Chair of Humanities and the only full-time humanities instructor.
While a fellow at Radcliffe, Peterson will revise and complete a collection of poems titled “Strange Litany.” The manuscript documents a series of road trips across California and through other remote western landscapes, including one on the Nez Perce National Historic Trail in Idaho and Montana, and traces the uncanny interior landscapes found on those journeys.
This One Tree won the New Issues Poetry Prize in 2006 (judged by William Olsen). Peterson received a doctorate in English and American literature and language from Harvard University that same year and was awarded the Howard Mumford Jones Prize for her dissertation, “Supposed Person: Emily Dickinson and the Selflessness of Poetry.” In 2008, she was the Alan Collins Fellow in Poetry at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.