Bio

Debra Kaufman's newest collection of poetry is Delicate Thefts (Jacar, 2015). She is also the author of The Next Moment (Jacar, 2010), Moon Mirror Whiskey Wind (Pudding House, 2009), A Certain Light (Emrys, 2001), Still Life Burning, winner of the Kinloch Rivers Poetry Competition (South Carolina Poetry Society, 1996), and Family of Strangers (Nightshade, 1990).

Her poems have appeared in many literary magazines, including Southern Poetry Review, Greensboro Review, Poetry East, North Carolina Literary Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and Carolina Quarterly, and in several anthologies, including Literary Trails of the North Carolina Piedmont (University of North Carolina, 2010), The Sound of Poets Cooking (Jacar, 2010); Word and Witness: 100 Years of North Carolina Poetry (Carolina Academic Press, 1999), and The Art and Craft of Poetry (Writers Digest Books, 1994). Her poems have won prizes from such organizations as the North Carolina Writers' Network, the North Carolina Women Writers Conference, the North Carolina Poetry Society, Emrys Press, the Poetry Society of South Carolina, the Independent, WUNC-FM's Radio Poets, Kakalak, and the Triad Writers Group.

Debra's plays have been produced throughout North Carolina and elsewhere. She won a North Carolina Arts Council playwriting scholarship in 1997. Variations on a Dream was selected as one of Burning Coal Theatre's New Works series; What You Inherit won the ArtsCenter's New Plays Rising award; and Like Candlelight Draws Smoke was produced at the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women through the North Carolina Writers' Network Outreach Program as well as at the ArtsCenter. Her play Harbor Hope was produced at Common Ground Theatre in Durham, NC.

Debra has taught many creative writing workshops for children and adults, including in Durham's Creative Arts in the Public Schools program, at High Point University's Phoenix Festival, in libraries, for writers' groups, and for Our Stories in Focus, a public arts and history collaboration sponsored by the towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro and the UNC Humanities Program.

Debra grew up in various small towns throughout the Midwest and has lived in North Carolina with her family for over twenty years (interview). She has worked as a detasseler, waitress, newspaper correspondent, copyeditor, and as the journals editorial manager at Duke University Press. She has served as president of the board of the North Carolina Writers' Network, arts committee chair of the South Mebane Elementary PTO, arts education committee chair of the Alamance County Arts Council, and editor of Pinesong, the North Carolina Poetry Society's annual publication of prize-winning poems. She is a member of the Black Socks Poets and the Greensboro Playwrights Forum, and serves as an editor for the online journal One and on the board of directors of the Paul Green Foundation.

She received a Central Piedmont Regional Artists Hub Program grant in 2010, which made possible the development of this web site.

Her poem "To Be Emma Bovary" won the 2015 James Applewhite Poetry Prize. (press release)

The Black Socks Poets


The Black Socks Poets group was founded in the early 1980s (Facebook Group). They meet every two weeks to discuss poems in progress and all matters related to poetry and publication. As individuals and as a group, they give public readings and publish poems in print media and on the Web.