Karenne Wood

Poet Information

Karenne Wood

About the Poet

Karenne Wood photo

Poet and linguistic anthropologist Karenne Wood grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC. She earned an MFA at George Mason University and a PhD in anthropology at the University of Virginia, where she was a Ford Fellow. In her poems, she often explores themes of identity, cultural practice, and language within portraits of historical and contemporary Virginia Indians.

Wood was the author of the poetry collections Markings on Earth (2001), which won a Diane Decorah Award for Poetry from the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas, and Weaving the Boundary (2016). Her work has been included in the anthologies Sister Nations: Native American Women Writers in Community (2002), The People Who Stayed: Southeastern Indian Writing After Removal (2010), Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas (2011), The Willow's Whisper : A Transatlantic Compilation of Poetry from Ireland and Native America (2011), New Poets of Native Nations (2018), and Ghost Fishing (2018)

An enrolled member of the Monacan Indian Nation, Wood served on the Monacan Tribal Council and directs the Virginia Indian Programs at the Virginia Center for the Humanities. She edited The Virginia Indian Heritage Trail (2007), created by members of Virginia tribes in order to gather and share perspectives on history and how that history is interpreted. She also served as the repatriation director for the Association on American Indian Affairs and as a researcher for the National Museum of the American Indian. Wood curated Beyond Jamestown: Virginia Indians Past and Present, exhibited at the Virginia Museum of Natural History. She served as chair of the Virginia Council on Indians and as a member of the National Congress of American Indians’ Repatriation Commission. In 2015 she was named one of Virginia’s Women in History.

Wood lived in Arlington, Virginia, until her death in 2019.

From the Poetry Foundation



Virginia City or County Affiliation

Arlington, Virginia

Current City/State of Residence

Arlington, Virginia




American Indian or Alaskan Native

Year of Birth


Published Works or Performances

  • Markings on Earth. University of Arizona Press, 2001.
  • Weaving the Boundary, University of Arizona Press, 2016.

Selected Individual Poems or Performances

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Karenne Wood