is a writer from Massachusetts. She is the author of the novel A Child Is Being Killed (Aqueous Books, 2013), which poet Eileen Myles called a "saint of a little book." Her second novel, In a Dream, I Dance by Myself, and I Collapse, won the Mainline Contest at Civil Coping Mechanisms and was released in 2016. Her fiction, poetry, and essays have been published widely, in such publications as The Washington Post, West Branch, Denver Quarterly, The Rumpus, PANK, DIAGRAM, Dusie, Huffington Post, and Everyday Feminism.
Carolyn holds a BA summa cum laude in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Boston, where she researched trauma, the psychology of meat eating, and political protest movements, and worked for several years as a research assistant to celebrated social psychologist and activist Dr. Melanie Joy. She then earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Naropa University's Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, studying with such writers as Anne Waldman, Bei Dao, Selah Saterstrom, Bhanu Kapil, Danielle Dutton, and Bobbie Louise Hawkins. She has taught English and Democracy Studies in the USA and abroad, including in Kolkata, India's red light districts and to political exiles at the Thailand/Burma border.
Carolyn's 2010 MFA thesis, "Reading Traumatized Bodies of Text," was published at Nebula: A Journal of Multidisciplinary Scholarship and explains the mode of writing which informs much of her work. She writes: "This is a chronically traumatized—and traumatizing—society, and the magnitude of its trauma is a relatively new development in history. We need narrative forms that can accommodate this reality. We need to represent the unrepresentable in a thorough and complicated manner that does as much justice to it as possible. Furthermore, we need styles of interpreting and reading that can accommodate this reality. Traumatic sites are not linear sites, are not simple sites, are perhaps not even comprehensible sites... Though more traditional literary forms serve a crucial purpose in the witnessing and integration of trauma, we also need language and syntax which take that first step of meeting traumatic shattering where it is at—and readers who can do the same. We need both the text and the reader-witness to attend to the traumatized space; to hold it with a tolerance for ambiguity and confusion; to maintain the heartbeat of patient, compassionate witnessing that will make real the possibility of healing, integration, and ultimately, a new world. This is a politically and culturally indispensable concern of literature."
"My goal is simply to encourage people to meet a piece of writing on its own terms, to shake hands and look it in the eye, even when the writing seems unusual or difficult, because these kinds of interactions between art and humans have alchemical potential." --Carolyn Zaikowski