A poet, novelist, critic, essayist, and editor, Kitchen founded the legendary State Street Press, co-founded and co-directed the Rainier Writing Workshop, and regularly wrote acclaimed essay reviews of poetry for The Georgia Review. She was the winner of multiple Pushcart Prizes for creative nonfiction, the Fairchild Award and the S. Mariella Gable Prize for her novel, the Anhinga Prize for poetry, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
A graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA program, Judith taught creative writing and literature at SUNY College in Brockport, New York for more than a decade. She served as a judge for the AWP Nonfiction Award, the Pushcart Prize in poetry, the Oregon Book Award, and the Bush Foundation Fellowships, among others.
Kitchen encouraged countless writers. She was a strong advocate of nonfiction as an independent literary genre, seeking to elevate creative/lyrical/experimental nonfiction to the status of an literary art, one as worthy of attention for its structure, craft, and techniques, as for its content.
Judith worked — and wrote — right up until the day she died. A selection of her essay reviews for The Georgia Review, entitled “What Persists: Essays on Poetry,” was published by The University of Georgia Press. Brief Encounters (co-editor, Dinah Lenney), the fourth in Judith’s series of collected short nonfiction, was released by Norton in November 2015. Other posthumous pieces include essays in Creative Nonfiction, Great River Review, Harvard Review, and River Teeth.
As Dinah Lenney and Kevin Clark wrote in the Los Angeles Review of Books, “All of this is to insist that Judith is very much among us even now.”