Texas Poet Laureate, speaker, author and photographer.
"These poems are testament to the wonder that is Karla Morton. Each line is carefully molded, sublime in execution. You’ll lose your heart reading these superb verses, but don’t worry. You’ll discover it again in her exquisitely chosen words. It will come back to you bigger and better than it ever was. In other words, you’ll be moved beyond belief. Karla Morton is a jewel. We’re lucky to have her." ~ W.K. Stratton, author of Ranchero Ford/Dying in Red Dirt Country and Chasing the Rodeo
"This rich, compelling, and highly accessible selection of poems presents Karla K. Morton as a poet of irrepressible exuberance, sensuousness, optimism, and faith. Here is a poet who finds life itself intoxicating, notwithstanding her own battle with cancer. Read around in _Accidental Origami_ when you need to be assured that love prevails, that death is not tragic, and that there is a God. And read these poems when you seek a poet who offers an unapologetic celebration of traditional notions of masculinity and femininity. Morton is capable of dwelling in pain—e.g., 'Teenage, Burning,' 'Walking Out,' 'Good Saturday'—but affirmation is this Texas Poet Laureate’s characteristic and most memorable mood." ~ Dr. Stephen Souris, Professor of English, Texas Woman's University
"In Karla K. Morton’s 'Accidental Origami,' she writes charmingly about sex, but always in the context of love. She refers often to God, but usually in relation to her awe about Nature and humanity. 'Symmetry' exemplifies this perspective. 'Ours is a God fond of symmetry;/the way you have one of that/and two of those;/the way I have two of these/and one of this;//the way my cheek fits/in the soft bowl of your palm;/the way our destinies merge — /as smooth in purpose/as a button into cloth.' This book by the 2010 Texas Poet Laureate has 157 poems, revealing her as a contemporary Romantic. 'What Really Makes the Stars Shine' proves this: 'He’s learning me well,/plotting my freckles and moles/like Galileo./The stars glare down, jealous of/my hot skin; his cool fingers.' Morton writes entirely open, accessible poetry. ~ San Antonio Express News
Order: Purchase on Amazon.com or via Texas A&M University Press.
Accidental Origami is an award-winning book that features Morton's best work to date from her ten collections. Published by Texas Review Press.
While her poems range in style, topic and region, they capture each universal emotion, delving into our desire to know our place in this world; the reason for our very being. Her words are comfort and wonder and hope. She writes: "This is a book of poems to swallow, to seep in your bloodstream/ and pound open the chamber doors/ of your own heart, reminding us of our huge capacity for love, guiding us through each tiny fold of synchronicity to discover the big picture--what it means to truly be alive."
Karla's 10th book, Constant State of Leaping, is about delving into risk...and unfettered joy. Published by Texas Review Press.
"Karla K. Morton's photographs are as sharp-edged as some of the tree branches and animal bones they depict. They are carefully composed and at the same time luminous. Each of Alan Birkelbach's poems takes its cue from a Morton picture... This combination of photograph-and-poem is highly satisfying. The two art forms are a perfect fit."~ Richard Sale, Editor, The Trilobite Press
"No End of Vision is a collection of poetry and images that are subtly but inextricably connected. The book is well done and is a fascinating read!~ Wyman Meinzer, State Photographer of Texas
"See how art gives us fresh perspectives on what we already know, reminds us of what's really important, of what should persist in our lives. This collection is a love letter to Texas from two exceptionally talented poets."~ H. Palmer Hall, author of Foreign and Domestic and Into the Thicket
Order: No End of Vision is available for purchase at amazon.com and at local bookstores across Texas.
The book’s photos and poems are also part of a touring photography and poetry exhibit, shown at museums and art galleries across Texas. Learn more or book the exhibit here.
The book No End of Vision: Texas As Seen by TwoLaureates is a collaborative work between Karla K. Morton and 2005 Texas Poet Laureate Alan Birkelbach. Published by Ink Brush Press, No End of Vision is a unique, ekphrastic effort combining black and white photos from Ms. Morton’s portfolio with poems (inspired by her photos) from Mr. Birkelbach. The collection is art and poetry about Texas.
8 Voices is a collaborative work written by 8 prominent contemporary poets:
Alan Birkelbach, 2005 Texas Poet Laureate.
Dr. Nathan Brown, 2013 Oklahoma Poet Laureate.
Dr. Jeffry Delotto.
Ronald E. Moore
karla k. morton, 2010 Texas Poet Laureate
Dr. Gary Swaim
The book features 15 poems from each poet and encompasses a broad range of topics, styles and voices.
"The wide open spaces and freedom of the American Southwest can breed a different sort of mindset. '8 Voices: Contemporary Poetry from the American Southwest' seeks to demonstrate the best of the Southwestern poetry flavor and brings many poems from eight poets who have been exemplified in representing the region. '8 Voices' is a strongly recommended addition to American poetry collections." ~ James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief, Midwest Book Review
"Here are poems about landscapes both familiar and foreign, childhood, young (and old) love, friendship, regret, loss, old age, sickness, and death, as well as about the miracle of poetry itself--poems you will want to read, and reread, savoring them for years to come."~ Michael McGaha, Yale B. and Lucille D. Griffith professor emeritus of modern languages at Pomona College
"The poets of 8 Voices transform the details encountered in everyday life into playful poetic landscapes that vibrate with a refreshing sense of humor."~ Rainer Schulte, professor of humanities and fine arts at UT Dallas, director of The Center for Translation Studies and editor of Translation Review
"This volume of poetry challenges the common expectations of many readers, as it demonstrates definitively that there is more to Southwestern poetry than wild horses, branding irons, arrowheads, and creaking windmills. I feel privileged to have read and lived with these poems during this process. I have gained much. And I believe that anyone who picks up the volume will feel the same."~ Dan Williams, editor of 8 Voices in his introduction
Order 8 Voices may be purchased directly from the publisher.
During the tour, she visited 32 secondary schools. Along the way, she also spoke at universities, conferences, civic organizations,
bookstores, libraries and cancer support groups, visiting a total of 42 towns for more than 70 speaking engagements.
Twenty-four Texas towns are featured in the book: Amarillo, Arlington, Bastrop, Beaumont, Brenham, Bonham, Bowie, Comfort, Cleburne, Denton, Euless, Granbury, Hardin, Justin, Kyle, Krum, Laredo, Mansfield, Marfa, Mesquite, Port Aransas, Round Rock, Salado and Texarkana. Each poem and piece of art was inspired, in some way, by the student's hometown.
Order: Purchase on Amazon.com, TCU Press or contact TCU Press at 817.257.7822.
NEW BOOK - Wooden Lions!
Published by TCU, Hometown, Texas is the culmination of Karla’s 18-month, 80,000-mile Little Town, Texas Tour, which includes poetry, photography and artwork from Karla and students across Texas.
Wee Cowrin' Timorous Beastie is an original Scottish epic story written by Karla and produced as a book/CD project with
Canadian composer Howard Baer. Baer, who has produced hundreds of CDs, written numerous TV themes and scores, and
worked on several IMAX films, read Morton's story and was inspired to compose a musical score to accompany her work—
including performances by some of the finest Celtic musicians in the world. The result is a unique and beautiful mix of
poetry, story and music.
Wee Cowrin' Timorous Beastie is a Scottish epic story written in rhyme about a 17th century Scottish pirate named John Murray and his love, Vashti. It's an exciting story about longing and love and the mystery of the beautiful foggy dew of Scotland.
The musical underscore to Morton’s Wee Cowrin' Timorous Beastie was created by Canadian composer Howard Baer and includes performances by some of the world's finest Celtic musicians. Other music by Howard Baer is heard regularly on network television across Canada, used in schools throughout the USA, England, Germany, China, Malaysia and Korea, and has been played in the UK, Australia, Hungary, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Poland and Japan. During his career Mr. Baer has had over 7000 of his arrangements recorded, has received a total of 7 JUNO nominations for album production including a win in 1999, has composed and conducted numerous scores for TV and film, and has written and produced extensively for children.
"The epic poetry of Karla Morton… the exquisite music of Howard Baer and the haunting photography of Walter Eagleton are combined into a lush, romantic experience. This is a work you will want to listen to all in one sitting. The story, the words, the music will carry you to a place that is all too rare in this world of over-analyzed and non-accessible poetry. This is magic and sensual fog and eternal yearning in the style of Shelley and Byron.”~ Alan Birkelbach, 2005 Texas Poet Laureate
“There are no words to describe how powerful this is! It's a veritable happening that sweeps you away and holds you in its clutches until it's finished with you, and at the end you shed some real tears….it's that powerful. What a tribute to culture and poetry worldwide.”~ Gerald Hausman, Award-Winning Author and Storyteller
"Together, the music and verse are surprisingly visual. Mr. Baer has a light touch, adding just a throb of drums to suspenseful verses and dipping into murkier tone colors when the action turns dark. He uses bagpipes, strings, percussion and even accordion to shroud the story in mist, soak it with rain or let in the light."~ Dallas Morning News, July 19, 2007
“Listen to this piece just once, and I'm sure that you will listen to it again and again.”~ Carl Peterson, Scottish Folksinger
"I love it! It tells such a story. It takes the listener on such a voyage. It is supremely evocative."~ David Greenberg, Author
“Wonderful work like this just doesn't come along that often."~ Gary Pattison, Owner, The Old Hastings Gallery, Ontario, Canada
Names We've Never Known, published by Texas Review Press, explores life, love and the rebirth of spirit in every living thing."This is poetry that opens us back up, to rediscover the beauty that lies in wait all around us. It gives us permission to feel emotions that run deep and real and tangible, whether we name them or not,” says Morton.
"There is a subtext that runs through Karla's work, an in-the-moment hunger, a realization that yes, all life is fleeting - but look how glorious and rich it can be. She knows how to give the most common items a special magic and meaning. She takes images we all know and understand and, in her hands, they are transformed into something deeper, something that transcends the moment. That is what good poetry is supposed to do. And Karla's poems do it - again and again and again."~ Alan Birkelbach, 2005 Texas Poet Laureate
Order: Purchase online at Texas A&M University Press or local bookstores.
Karla was commissioned by The City of Denton Public Art Committee and The Greater Denton Arts Council to write poetry n the history of Denton, and after it was written, artists from the Denton community were commissioned to create art inspired by her poems. A book was created and launched at an accompanying exhibit at Meadows Gallery at the Patterson-Appleton Center for the Visual Art that featured the original works in the book (paintings, photographs, stained glass, prints and collages), accompanied by the poem that inspired it.
Order: Passion, Art, Community may be purchased by contacting the Greater Denton Arts Council at (940) 382-2787.
Karla's 12th book, Wooden Lions, is the 2018 Western Heritage Award poetry winner. The ultimate animal-lovers’ book, with each poem in this amazing collection cradles the soul of a creature.
Karla K. Morton's poetry knows no limits in its form or subject matter. In Stirring Goldfish, she expresses and explores every human emotion through her original Sufi poetry collection.
Sufi poetry, now popular in western cultures, is an ancient form of poetry that originated in the Middle East. The Sufis believe that love is the greatest thing in the world -- greater than education, greater than religion, and that love is the only thing we take with us into the next world. These poems embody the love between humans and humans and God -- a mix of the sensual and the spiritual; the earthly and the eternal.
"Every emotion from passion to grief is treated with the same exquisite reverence and skill... leaves the reader feeling he or
she has experienced a revelation."~ Sue Ranglack
"Meditational gems - hold these poems as invitations inside your skin, your spirit - to grow calmer. To float."~ Naomi Shihab Nye
Order: Stirring Goldfish is available for purchase at amazon.com and local bookstores.
Passion, Art, Community is the history of Denton, Texas told in poems. It is a 2013 North Texas Book Festival winner in the category of adult non-fiction and was selected as an award finalist in the 2013 Eric Hoffer Book Awards.
Morton’s poetry winds through our connection with the animal spirit, breathlessly binding us forever in their wisdom; their endless lifting up of humankind. This is a celebration of all beasts, reminding us to cherish all those who nurture us.
A Special Dedication:
Morton dedicates Wooden Lions to all the animal companions who have walked with her thus far in life … and to all of those she has yet to know. "These are the souls who have saved me,” says Morton. Karla also gives special thanks in one of the book’s poems to Operation Kindness in Carrolton, Texas, where she found her sweet Pontus, who has been by her side through so much, including 2 victorious battles against cancer.
“Those who recognize the nobility of non-human beings understand that they don’t just live alongside us, they braid their lessons into our hearts, becoming quite literally part of our lives. Karla Morton’s poetry exquisitely probes the mingled boundary-lands between the human and all the rest, our minds and theirs, a territory of lives and souls that might best be named ‘Us All’.”
~ Carl Safina, author of Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel
Order: Purchase on Amazon.com or Texas A&M University Press.
Partnering to Raise Funds and Awareness for Animal Nonprofits: With this book, Karla intends to partner with international, national and regional nonprofit organizations that serve, protect and rehabilitate animals, such as animal shelters, rescue centers, wildlife refuges and humane societies, to help them raise funds and awareness. She is available as a keynote or guest speaker for fundraising events and will donate a portion of her book's net proceeds as part of these events or partner efforts. If you are interested in booking Karla to speak at your event or discussing other partnership ideas, please click here to contact Karla.
Redefining Beauty, now in its third printing, is a unique, award-winning poetry collection written during Karla K. Morton's diagnosis, treatment and survival of breast cancer. In a series of passionate and powerful poems, accompanied by photographer Walter Eagleton's black and white images, Redefining Beauty offers readers hope and comfort through its intimate candor, good-humored defiance and unfiltered honesty.
A lifelong poet, as well as a wife and mother of two, Morton was diagnosed with breast cancer in May, 2008. In search of information to help her fight the disease, Morton turned to books. She found facts and statistics. She found self-help books.
"But I needed more," she says. "I needed some grit, a leather strap between my teeth. And when I couldn't find what I needed, I simply wrote my way through it."
Morton wrote her way through diagnosis, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation treatments and the PET scan that showed her to be cancer-free. She wrote her way through the loss of her hair, bone-crushing pain, insensitive sentiments, bald fashion statements and a fierce determination to live. Redefining Beauty is the winner of the 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Award in the Women's Issues category.
"We have never seen a book like this for those going through cancer or those with loved ones in the fight. The poems are powerful, playful and genuine. Anyone who knows Karla will immediately recognize her outgoing personality shining through the words, even in the darkest poems; those who don't know her will sense that 'survivor' is not strong enough to describe her. Try 'warrior' instead."~ Scott Wiggerman, lead editor for Dos Gatos Press
"Imbuing her poems with the intimacy, candor, and unfiltered emotional honesty of a diary, Morton clasps her reader's hand and walks her through all five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance."~ Larry Thomas, 2008 Texas State Poet Laureate
“Morton’s Redefining Beauty presents a fresh perspective on cancer. In effect, it is a redefining of more than just what is beautiful concerning our bodies, relationships, and poetry; it’s a redefining of cancer in those spaces as well. Her ability to combine beauty and ugliness, sickness and sweetness, and humor and fright makes her collection an intriguing and entertaining one.”~ full review - 'Stung Like a Bee' Laura E. Decker, Texas Books in Review
"Karla K. Morton is perseverance personified."~ Dallas Morning News
"Redefining Beauty declares a universal manifesto for the rage to live."~ Michael Price, arts editor for the Fort Worth Business Press
Order: Redefining Beauty can be ordered online directly from the publisher or at amazon.com and at bookstores across Texas.
Using a combination of quotes, mythological images and exquisite metaphors from nature, Morton delivers poems that describe the absolute urgency of giving one's heart over to life, the burning drive to have faith in the world and the insistence that everything, in its own way, is holy. This book is unfettered joy. Cover art by Donna Howell-Sickles, a renowned artist and inductee into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame. Winner of the 2015 Eric Hoffer Award (1st Runner Up in poetry), a Montaigne Medal finalist and a North Texas Book Festival Award Winner (1st place in poetry category).
"These poems are thoughtful, witty and deeply graceful." ~ Kevin Prufer, author of National Anthem and In a Beautiful Country
"The poet's simple and direct, free verse draws the reader into every aspect of her life with concrete images that vibrate with emotion..."
"A masterpiece by a poet you will soon not forget, Constant State of Leaping will leave you wanting to live life to its fullest."
~ David Bowles, author of Flower, Song, Dance: Aztec and Mayan Poetry. Read the full review.
Order: Order Constant State of Leaping on Amazon.com.
Published by Texas Christian University Press as part of its Texas Poets Laureate Series, and with an introduction by Billy Bob Hill, Karla K. Morton: New and Selected Poems includes new poetry as well as selected favorites written by Morton. From the Introduction by Billy Bob Hill… “As the 2010 Texas Poet Laureate, Karla K. Morton believes that poetry is everyone’s art, and has carved her place in Texas Letters with this stunning collection.
With well-loved titles such as: For Love and Michelangelo, The Closer, Why God Needs a Shotgun, Alamo Coastline, Woman in the Pipe Shop and
When Texas No Longer Fits in the Glove Box
"... Morton's poetry will take you on a journey; her flowing style sparks memories and stirs emotions…
It's no wonder she has been called ''one of the more adventurous voices in American poetry.” ~ Billy Bob Hill
"Her work often sparkles, at turns clever, amusing, sensual and sad, but always deeply perceptive of human nature, of the webs that bind us and keep us apart. Accessible and imagery-rich, Morton's poems have an appreciable emotional heft." ~ David Bowles, author of Flower, Song, Dance: Aztec: Aztec and Mayan Poetry
Order: Karla K. Morton: New and Selected Poems can be ordered online or by calling 800.826.8911.