Kimberly Johnson: Mormon Poet

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Kimberly Johnson Mormon Poet
Courtesy BYU Magazine

Kimberly Johnson is a poet and professor of English and teaches creative writing and Renaissance literature at Brigham Young University.

She has published three books of poetry with Persea Books: Uncommon Prayer (2014), A Metaphorical God (2008), and Leviathan with a Hook (2002). Her poetry, translations, and critical essays have appeared in numerous publications, including The New Yorker, Slate, Yale Review, Milton Quarterly, and Modern Philology. She was co-editor, with Jay Hopler, on Before the Door of God: An Anthology of the Devotional Lyric (2013); co-editor (with Michael C. Schoenfeldt and Richard Strier), on Divisions on a Ground: Essays in Renaissance Literature in Honor of Donald M. Friedman (2008); and editor on John Donne’s Complete Sermons: The Electronic Archive. She is the author of Sacrament and Poetics in Post-Reformation England (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014). In 2009, Penguin Classics published her translation of Virgil’s Georgics.

In 2011 she won a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. She has also received awards from the Mellon Foundation, the Utah Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Johnson holds a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University, an MFA from the University of Iowa, and a PhD in Renaissance Literature from the University of California at Berkeley.

She considers herself a “word geek” and says “We are very lucky, we English speakers, that we have this supple, strange, mongrel language that has sucked in words from everywhere because it means that we have a richness of availability of meaning to us.”[1]

She is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.