Upstart HeadshotCaroline Kessler is a poet, editor, and community creator who works at the intersections of language, spirituality, and organizing. This work takes the form of writing poetry and nonfiction, creating handmade magazines, and facilitating gatherings and spiritual experiences. After spending several years in the San Francisco Bay Area, she relocated to St. Louis, where earned an MFA in Creative Writing at Washington University. She was a T.S. Eliot Scholar and the recipient of a University Fellowship and a full-tuition scholarship.

In November 2015, she co-founded Ashreinu, the only independent kehilla (community) in the city of St. Louis. Ashreinu gathers several times a month for inspired davening (praying), peer-led learning, and innovative Jewish ritual. After graduating from Washington University, she was a 2017-18 Dorot Fellow in Israel, where she lived in Jaffa. Her chapbook, Ritual in Blue, was recently published by Sutra Press (available here).

She is currently based in Oakland, CA, and works as the Editorial Manager at UpStart, expanding the picture of how Jews find meaning and come together.

With Janet Frishberg, she’s the co-creator of The 18 Somethings Project, a writing adventure, and co-founder of Index/Fist, a creative collective that publishes boundary-pushing zines and hosts creative gatherings.

Her freelance work involves copywriting, branding, content strategy, and developmental and copy editing for fiction + nonfiction books. Titles include Adam Smiley Poswolsky’s best-selling career change book for millenials, The Quarter-life Breakthrough and Sumeet Banerji’s novel Ice Party

She holds a BA with honors in Creative Writing and a minor in Religion from Carnegie Mellon University, where she was also the student Commencement Speaker. More on LinkedIn and very occasionally, Twitter.

Want to connect? Drop her a line: hi@carokess.com.

Photo credit: Jaime Rapaport Barry.


2 thoughts on “About

  1. Melissa Chapnick told me about you! Fascinating blog! Hope to see you some at some Sunday’s Share the Wealth! May our paths cross in Saint Louis!

  2. Thank you so much, Mark! Melissa said great things about you and I love what you’re doing with Share the Wealth. I’ve been out of town the past few Sundays but hope to make it soon 🙂

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