(More than) Crisis and Loss: Writing Female Midlife

Bookfair Stage, AWP Bookfair, Exhibit Halls D & E, Kansas City Convention Center, Level 3
Friday, February 9, 2024
12:10 pm to 1:25 pm


Illness, grief, divorce, burnout: the years between forty and fifty (and beyond) can be particularly fraught for women—but female midlife and its attendant crises and discoveries are rarely depicted honestly or directly in popular culture. Join us for a reading by poets whose work addresses the realities of these years, which may include epiphanies and crises of love and faith, but also feature a second coming-of-age and a more confident and assured sense of self.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: (More_than)_Crisis_and_Loss_Writing_Female_Mid-life_OUTLINE_FOR_AWP_24-1.pdf
Supplemental Document 1: More_Than_Crisis_and_Loss_Author_Info_awp24.pdf



Sarah Kain Gutowski is the author of two books, The Familiar, a fabulist narrative-in-poems about female midlife, and Fabulous Beast: Poems, winner of the 14th annual National Indies Excellence Award for Poetry. With artist Meredith Starr, she is cocreator of Every Second Feels Like Theft.

Cynthia Marie Hoffman is author of four poetry collections: Exploding Head, Call Me When You Want to Talk About the Tombstones, Paper Doll Fetus, and Sightseer. Hoffman is a former Diane Middlebrook Poetry Fellow at the WI Institute for Creative Writing. Her poems appear in The Believer, the Los Angeles Review, and Blackbird.

Michelle Whittaker is a Caribbean-American poet and author of Surge, awarded a Next Generation Indie Book Award for Poetry. She received a Pushcart Special Mention and NYFA Fellowship in Poetry. She has also served as poetry editor for the Southampton Review and teaches at Stony Brook University.

Julie Brooks Barbour’s most recent collection is Haunted City. She is coediting a volume of essays, A Mollusk Without a Shell: Essays on Self-Care for Writers.

Mary Biddinger is poetry and poetics editor at the University of Akron Press. She also chairs the departments of English and modern languages and serves on the faculty of the NEOMFA program. Her latest books are Partial Genius: Prose Poems and Department of Elegy, both with Black Lawrence Press.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center