Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno

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Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno is an American poet, teacher, and contributing editor to The American Poetry Review..[1] Kathleen received a Knights Foundation Grant in 2011 (selected from 1700 submissions) to create a literary arts center: Musehouse: a Center for the Literary Arts in Philadelphia, PA.

She is the author of Slamming Open the Door (Alice James Books, 2009), which was the 2008 Beatrice Hawley Award winner, the 9th best-selling poetry book in 2009 which received a positive, full-page review in The New York Times,[2] while Library Journal praised it as "A stunning first book."[3] Bonanno was interviewed about her writing of the book on NPR's Fresh Air by Terri Gross, who began the interview by praising the book, "I really love the poems we're about to hear. They're beautifully written. But some of them really hurt. They're about the worst thing that can happen to a mother, the murder of her child."[4][5] Slamming Open the Door is a collection of poetry which tells the story of the aftermath of the murder of the author’s daughter, Leidy Bonanno, who was strangled in 2003 by an ex-boyfriend, just after she had graduated from nursing school.[6] Bonanno is an advocate for victims’ rights and a member of the Montgomery Country Parents of Murdered Children, and was honored with a 2008 “Women of Courage/Women of Inspiration Purple Ribbon Award” from Lutheran Settlement House in Philadelphia.[7]

Bonanno was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, and received an undergraduate degree in English and a master’s in education from Temple University. She taught at Dobbins High School for five years and has taught at Cheltenham High School for thirteen years. She is married to David Bonanno, a native of Caldwell, New Jersey, and co-editor of The American Poetry Review.[8]


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