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Kathleen Rooney

Kathleen Rooney was born in Beckley, West Virginia and raised in the Midwest. She earned a B.A. from the George Washington University and an M.F.A. in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College.


"Lyrical and detailed, precise and ornate, Rooney's genre-bending text showcases an obsession with literary history."

– Carol Guess

"Kathleen Rooney is one of the best writers of her still youthful generation."

– John Matthias



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Featured Book

Robinson Alone

One Can Feel His Presence and Hear His Voice


In 1955, Weldon Kees — poet, filmmaker, musician, and artist — disappeared. His car was found on the Golden Gate Bridge. Kees’ body has yet to be found, but one can still feel his presence and hear his voice in Robinson Alone, a novel-in-poems written by Kathleen Rooney.

Rooney spent ten years working on the collection, as evidenced by its historical and biographical detail. Interspersed are snippets of poems, letters, and popular advertisement jingles:

A peach looks good

                                                            with lots

                                                of fuzz

                                    but man’s no peach

                        and never was

            Burma Shave

However, equally impressive is the collection’s skillful musicality and the complete picture Rooney paints of Robinson’s complex and contradictory interior life: his desperation to leave the Midwest and his disillusioned view of the city; his love for his wife and his growing frustration with her drinking; his haunting despair and his nagging dream of escaping into a bright new life:

Aware that to be a functional human being means
to deny death, but having lately suffered a loss

of interest in that fact, Robinson has taken to staying
inside — curtains drawn, phone off the hook.

Who was Robinson really? And whatever has become of him? In this collection, Rooney provides proof that “poetry” and “page-turner” can mutually exist, and that the best books don’t “set the score straight.”

They set our unanswerable questions to music.

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