About Kirsten

Kirsten Casey

Kirsten Casey is a California Poet in the Schools, and creative writing teacher. She earned her MA in creative writing from San Francisco State University in 1992, working with Frances Mayes, her thesis advisor. Her poetry collection, Ex Vivo: Out of the Living Body, published by Hip Pocket Press in 2012, is inspired by odd stories, remarkable words, and the mysteries of the human body. Her second book of poetry, (with the working title Grieving Birds,) explores historical and literary characters struggling with social media. In 2019, she taught high school workshops as part of the Academy of American Poets Laureate fellowship granted to Molly Fisk, to facilitate the poetry anthology, California Fire & Water, which responds to California’s climate crisis. She was a co-editor of the book, which includes one of her poems. Currently, she is an associate editor of the book Small, Bright Things, a collection of 100-word stories by teens, with local author and editor, Kim Culbertson. Her latest manuscript, Grieving Birds, was a finalist for the Gunpowder Press Dryden-Vreeland Poetry Prize. She has lived in Nevada City for over 30 years with her husband, and has three children, who patiently assist her with technology.

Nevada County Poet Laureate 2021

Nevada County Arts Council Logo

On accepting her nomination as 2021 Poet Laureate, Kirsten Casey said: “I am honored and thrilled to be this year’s nominee for Poet Laureate of Nevada County. As a 30–year resident of Nevada City, I truly consider this my home. After over a year of isolation, fear, and civil unrest, it is more important than ever to recognize what connects us as a community… My goal is to make poetry “live” again, in person, in this artistic haven. Hopefully, as the county opens up, I can host events to enhance the experience of poetry: creating it, sharing it, reading it—together. This will be a time of healing and recovery, and I particularly want to reach out to the children and teens who have had an overwhelming amount of time in front of a screen over the past 12 months.”

Learn more at nevadacountyarts.org

Ex Vivo

Ex Vivo (out of the body) is a crazy quilt of a poetry book. What could unify such a varied collection of narrators — inebriated monks, famous painters, suicides, bad girls, and a woman who feels no pain? What could stitch together subjects as disparate as organ donors, middle names, anonymous corpses, keyholes, the “suspicious grieving,” pocket knives, and trees? In this collection, the binding thread is language itself, which functions not only as an instrument of communication, but as character, as place, as metaphor, as architecture, as song.

Cheryl Dumesnil, author of In Praise of Falling, winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize

The book can be purchased at Harmony Books in Nevada City, or ordered through The Bookseller in Grass Valley.

Ex Vivo Cover


Here are some poems from Nevada County poets who contributed to Lee Herrick’s California Poet Laureate project: https://capoetlaureate.org/nevada-county One of my poems is included in the website.

We will resume Poetry Happy Hour on, Thursday, July 18th, from 5-6 at Nevada City’s Communal Cafe. Our theme will be “Endless Summer.” Join us for a cool drink and all ages poetry appreciation.

Read about the 2024 Sierra Poetry Festival here: https://www.theunion.com/entertainment/celebrating-poetry-in-the-sierra/article_da9616fa-f5c9-11ee-83de-a34f2125b752.html#tncms-source=login

Read about our second annual Ekphrastic Fantastic event at ASiF Studios in Grass Valley: https://www.theunion.com/entertainment/ekphrastic-fantastic-art-inspired-poetry/article_9dc5e006-ead5-11ee-953a-6beb5b6cdd15.html

My poem, “How to Feed the Grieving,” was selected to be included in the forthcoming anthology, Savor: Poems for the Tongue, by publisher Friendly City Books.

My new manuscript, Grieving Birds, was recently selected as one of seven finalists for the Dryden-Vreeland Book Prize, an award from Gunpowder Press. I am honored to have been among the poets chosen.

I have some new poems up on the online anthology Interlitq Californian Poets Part 6. Enjoy reading them here:


I composed a poem for the dedication of the Wildflower Ridge Preserve, a new part of the Bear Yuba Land Trust, on September 14th If you’d like to learn more about it:

Read my Culture Connection interview: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/58ff9007579fb392e08b22fe/t/645554b22625a334dc9b30b9/1683313852429/May+23+GVNC+Culture+Connection.pdf

Read about my second Poetry in Parks event, held at the Empire Mine in Grass Valley, in collaboration with the Cal Parks department:


Read about our annual “Five Nevada County Women” poetry reading:


You can listen to my interview with Cy Musiker on KVMR’s show, Curtain Call. My section starts at the 6:30 mark.

I was a guest on The Morning Glory Project podcast. Give it a listen:


Listen to the eulogy I wrote for my sweet Dad, read by Kelly Corrigan, on her podcast “Thanks for Being Here:”


Read about all of the wonderful events that happened April 2022, for National Poetry month:





Read my poem about The Donation Day Parade in Grass Valley:


My reading of “What the Bridge Knows” at the reopening of the Bridgeport Bridge on November 4th:


A recent story, published by 100 Word Story, on their website:

Read about my opening day poem for the 2021 Nevada County Fair: https://www.theunion.com/news/lorraines-lowdown-never-too-old-for-gold/

Read about when the Madelyn Helling Library invited me to have a community poetry pop up in June: https://www.facebook.com/NevadaCountyArts/posts/reposted-nevada_county_library-poet-laureate-of-nevada-county-kirsten-casey-visi/4527815457239326/