Karen Dowell lives on an island off the coast of Maine with her husband (a big band trumpet player), and their two labrador retriever sons. After spending 15 years in the computer industry, working in marketing communications and technical publications, Karen quit her job last summer to focus on writing fiction and poetry. She's now working toward a master of arts in English at the University of Maine. Over the past year, her work has appeared in several print and online journals, including Recursive Angel, 2River View, and Stolen Island Review, and will appear in an upcoming anthology of dog poetry from the publishers of Visions International. Karen's first collection of dog poetry will be published in 1998.
An avid jazz fan, Karen plays alto sax and flute. She's been studying jazz improvisation on and off for about three years. Both "iwannaplay jazz" and "Baroque Bebop" were written in the aftermath of rather intense practice sessions. Although she doubts she'll ever be a great jazz player herself, the more she learns about the art form, the more appreciation and respect she has for those who make it look effortless. "Leaving New York" also has its origins in music; Karen wrote it on the tail-end of trip to see the Lew Anderson All American Big Band play at the Red Blazer in New York. That same weekend, she also stepped up to the mike for the first time at a poetry reading in Greenwich Village.
Spending most of her time on islands, Karen finds that light and fog frequently play prominent roles in her poetry, as in "Sunset" and "Fogged Horizons." Coastal Maine also serves as the setting in "Another Perfect Day," which Karen wrote after rereading Salinger's Nine Stories. She just couldn't stop wondering what happened to that little girl on the beach....
If you'd like to see scenes from the corner of Maine that inspires Karen, take a look at the Deer Isle/Stonington page.