Karl Elder is the Jacob and Lucile Fessler Professor of Creative Writing and Poet in Residence at Lakeland College as well as author of nine collections of poetry, including Gilgamesh at the Bellagio, forthcoming from The National Poetry Review Prize Book Series; PhobophobiaA Man in Pieces; The Geocryptogrammatist’s Pocket Compendium of the United States; The Minimalist’s How-to  Handbook; and, from Marsh River Editions of Marshfield, Wisconsin, Mead: Twenty-six Abecedariums.  His work has also appeared in A Fine Excess: Fifty Years of the Beloit Poetry Journal; September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond;  Poetry Daily Essentials 2007; and many  other anthologies. In 2016 Pebblebrook Press published Elder’s aural novel, Earth as It Is on Heaven.


photo by Benjamin Wilks

Among his honors are a Pushcart Prize, two appearances in the Best American Poetry series, the Chad Walsh Award, the Lorine Niedecker Award, the Lucien Stryk Award, grants from the Illinois Arts Council for poetry and fiction, Lakeland’s Outstanding Teacher Award, and the Robert Schuricht Endowment.

For many years and since its inception, Mr. Elder has been associated with the literary magazine Seems—originally as a contributor, followed by poetry editor, and, since 1978, editor and publisher.

A member of the National Eagle Scout Association and a Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow, Elder is active in Scouting, for which his sons, Seth and Wade, serve as professionals in the organization. Elder and his wife, Brenda, a retired CCRN, live in Howards Grove, Wisconsin.