Kathryn Gahl, who holds dual degrees in English and nursing, is a brightly lit performer whose use of language reaches out and grabs an audience. She thinks her focus on language began as a child, eating alphabet soup. Her multi-genre writing, deeply rooted in everyday life, combines a certain human pathos with quick wit and smile-worthy lines. Her works appear in three anthologies, three ekphrastic art shows, and over fifty journals, with awards from Glimmer Train, Margie, Chautauqua, Rosebud, The Mill, Talking Writing, The Hal Prize for Fiction and Poetry, New Millennium Writings, and Wisconsin People & Ideas

A Pushcart nominee, she served as Writer-in-Residence at Lakeland University. In 2019, The Council of Wisconsin Writers presented her the Lorine Niedecker Poetry Award and in 2021, THE VELOCITY OF LOVE (Water’s Edge Press, 2020) received an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Wisconsin Library Association. Future releases include HARD LIFE, HARD LOVE (Dancing Girl Press, forthcoming 2021), THE YELLOW TOOTHBRUSH (Two Shrews Press, forthcoming 2022), and MESSENGERS OF THE GODS (Cornerstone Press, forthcoming 2022).

An avid ballroom dancer, she believes in the power of red lipstick, deep sleep, and compassion. 


Awards & Honors

  • Wisconsin People & Ideas Poetry Honorable Mention for "Liminal," 2021
  • Hal Prize in Fiction, Winner for "Yes, No, I Don’t Know," 2020 
  • Hal Prize in Poetry, Winner for “Daytona Beach at Dusk,” 2020  
  • Wisconsin People & Ideas Poetry, Second Place Winner for "Sister," 2020
  • Lorine Niedecker Poetry Award, Winner, 2018
  • Chautauqua Poetry Contest, Finalist for "For The Eighth-Grade Girl Writing Love Lyrics"
  • Wisconsin People & Ideas Fiction Award, Winner for "Stones," 2015 
  • Wisconsin People & Ideas Poetry, Honorable Mention for "Heaven," 2014 
  • Talking Writing Prize for Flash Fiction, Finalist for "Sure," 2013
  • Wisconsin People & Ideas Short Story Contest, Third Place Winner for "Miles," 2011
  • Wisconsin People & Ideas Poetry Contest, Finalist for "On Being a Farm Kid," 2007 
  • Marjorie J. Wilson Award, Finalist for "Freedom Fighters," 2006 
  • Glimmer Train's Very Short Fiction, Finalist for "FRANCE," Winter 2003/2004
  • Glimmer Train's Very Short Fiction, Finalist for "The Dresser


Readings, Interviews, & Press