Mary-Kim Arnold is a poet, prose writer, and visual artist. Her work has been featured in a number of literary and art journals, including Tin House, The Georgia Review, Hyperallergic, and The Rumpus, where she was Essays Editor from 2013-2015.
Litany for the Long Moment, her book-length experimental essay, was selected by Carla Harryman for the 2016 Essay Press Prize and published in 2018. Litany for the Long Moment was a nominee for the 2019 Krause Essay Prize, and has been honored by the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association, named a “Best of 2018” Book by Entropy Magazine, included in NPR’s Code Switch 2018 Book Guide, was a March 2018 Rumpus Book Club selection, and was a finalist for the 2018 Chautauqua Janus Prize for Formal and Aesthetic Innovation. Her poetry collection, The Fish & The Dove, is forthcoming from Noemi Press in 2020.
She is the recipient of the 2018 MacColl Johnson Fellowship and the 2017 Fellowship in Fiction from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, for Nine Men's Misery, her novel in progress. She serves on the Advisory Board for The Rumpus, where she edits the occasional column, Multitudes, a partnership with VONA/Voices of Our Nation Arts. She currently serves as Special Projects Editor for Essay Press, and co-chairs the Board of Directors for the feminist art collective, the Dirt Palace.
She was born in Seoul, Korea and was raised in New York. She holds graduate degrees from Brown University and Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in Pawtucket, RI.
“(Re-)Dress: One for Every Thousand” is composed of 200 individually-made white dresses in a symbolic attempt to re-dress the estimated 200,000 Korean children adopted abroad. The dresses are made from recycled domestic linens – tablecloths, bedsheets – as a way to foreground the unknowability of their prior domestic life. The color white is traditionally associated with mourning in Korea, and this piece shifts the adoption narrative from the “happy ending” for the lucky orphan to a more complicated meditation on what is lost – for the child, for the culture, for the nation.