January 20th, 2016: Carine Topal

Carine TopalCarine Topal was born and raised in New York City and earned her MA from New York University. She has lived in Jerusalem, Israel, where she worked with Palestinian merchants in villages and towns in the West Bank and Bethlehem. She was employed by the Office of Assimilation, and worked with new immigrants. She also lived in Heidelberg, Germany, on the American army base. Over the years, Carine has anthologized the poetry of many special needs children. She participated in the grassroots organization California Poets in the Schools, was the Poet-in-Residence for the City of Manhattan Beach and Poet-in-Education for Manhattan Beach elementary schools. In 1994, her first collection of poetry, God As Thief, was published by The Amagansett Press.  Her work has appeared in numerous journals throughout the U.S. and Canada. In 2005 Carine was awarded a residency at Hedgebrook as well as a fellowship in St. Petersburg, Russia. She is the recipient of numerous poetry awards, including the 2007 Robert G. Cohn Prose Poetry Award from California Arts and Letters, from which a special edition chapbook, “Bed of Want,” was published. Her 3rd collection, “In the Heaven of Never Before,” was published in December, 2008, by Moon Tide Press. In the same year she was honored with the Excellence in Arts Award from the City of Torrance, California. She is a recent recipient of The Briar Cliff Nineteenth Annual Poetry Award of 2015, and “Tattooed,”her collection of Holocaust poems, was the winner of the Palettes and Quills 4th Biennial Poetry Chapbook Contest, due out in late summer, 2015. Carine lives in La Quinta, California and conducts poetry and memoir workshops in the Los Angeles and Palm Springs area.