Beardslee, Karen E. 1965-
BEARDSLEE, Karen E. 1965-
PERSONAL: Born June 25, 1965, in New Milford, CT; daughter of Paul William (an innkeeper) and Margaret Mary (Minisce) Beardslee; married Thomas Michael Kwasny, August 1, 2001; stepchildren: Rocky, Stefan. Ethnicity: "Italian." Education: Shippensburg University, B.A., 1988; East Carolina University, M.A., 1991; Temple University, Ph.D. (American literature), 1998. Politics: Independent. Religion: Roman Catholic. Hobbies and other interests: Guitar, biking, baking.
CAREER: Burlington County College, Pemberton, NJ, adjunct professor, 1991-99, lecturer in English, 1999-2002; independent scholar and folklorist, 2002—. Camden County College, adjunct professor, 1992; Rowan College of New Jersey, adjunct professor, 1995; teacher of history and English at a private secondary school in Philadelphia, PA, 1998-99. Moore-stown Barnes and Noble Monthly Senior Memoirs Writing Group, co-facilitator, 2000.
MEMBER: Modern Language Association of America, American Folklore Society (chair of folklore and literature section), National Council of Teachers of English, National Women's Studies Association, Popular Culture Association, Society for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States, American Association of University Women.
Literary Legacies, Folklore Foundations: Selfhood and Cultural Tradition in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century American Literature, University of Tennessee Press (Knoxville, TN), 2001.
Work represented in anthologies, including Your Neighborhood of Poems, edited by Eloise Bradley Fink and John Dickson, Thorntree Press (Winnetka, IL), 1994. Contributor of articles and poetry to periodicals, including MELUS, Zora Neale Hurston Forum, Reflector, Rebel, and Expressions. Member of editorial advisory board, Analytical Writer, 2002.
WORK IN PROGRESS: From San Quentin Gumbo to "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Café": Foodways in Life and Literature, publication by University of Alabama Press expected in 2004; Translating Tradition: A Family Folklore Reader, Allyn & Bacon, 2004; and Variety Shows: An American Family Reader and Writer, Allyn & Bacon, 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: Karen E. Beardslee told CA: "Writing is my primary mode of expression. It has been a part of my life since I was a child. Then, like now, I wrote not only for pleasure, but to pull myself out and into the world. I would have to say that Southern writers—both poets and novelists—influence my work the most. Their works resonate with voices telling stories—the oral tradition—and I am completely lost in narrative when I pick up something by Lee Smith or Robert Morgan, for example.
"I write when I have to—when I am on deadline with a book—and when the occasion calls for it—when experience must become words on paper. The first type of writing is a matter of my profession; the second is a matter of my creative spirit. Together they fill my need to play with words on a daily basis. I am inspired to write the scholarly books I do because of the subject matter they cover: folklore and literature, two of the strongest influences in my life. I also work in poetry and the personal essay, creating pieces that reflect my scholarly interests and seek to record the lives and stories with which I come in contact.
"My experience with my grandparents proved the value of folklore in my own life and became the memoir Letters to Be Sent: An Epistle Memoir. I wrote Literary Legacies, Folklore Foundations: Selfhood and Cultural Tradition in Nineteenth- and Twentieth- Century American Literature because I wanted others to recognize the role folklore plays in the literature we read and in the lives we lead. Later I was to find folklore a valuable teaching tool, and in order to share this knowledge with others I created Translating Tradition: A Family Folklore Reader."