I’m a poet, editor, and facilitator who is lit up by nuance, depth, and story.

Tahoe Portrait_CKessler

I love connecting with people to unleash their creativity, be a part of community, and transport themselves through art. I’d love to know: what lights you up?

I’m the co-creator / co-founder of:

  • The 18 Somethings Project, a writing adventure to activate your creativity that has always been virtual.
  • Index/Fist, a creative collective that publishes handmade magazines.
  • Ashreinu, an independent spiritual community in St. Louis.

I edit long-form content, particularly books (novels, poetry, and nonfiction), e-books, resource guides, thought leadership pieces, op-eds, and more. This work involves content strategy, high-level editing (often called “developmental editing,” where we look at the big picture, arc, plot, and overall message), and line editing. I frequently edit titles in the transformational nonfiction space, including health, wellness, and self-help, such as these:

My academic background in poetry means I have a deep understanding of how image, metaphor, and concise language can transform sentences into a compelling story. I’m the author of Ritual in Blue (Sutra Press, 2018) and have taught students of all ages at Washington University in St. Louis, the Yiddish Book Center, Jewish Vocational Center in San Francisco, the Negev Writers Retreat, and elsewhere. My degrees include an MFA in Creative Writing from Washington University in St. Louis, where I was a T.S. Eliot Scholar, and a BA with honors in Creative Writing and a minor in religion from Carnegie Mellon University.

Currently: open to working with writers and subject matter experts seeking to write a book or book proposal. Reach out to learn more about how I help individuals articulate their story: hi@carokess.com.

Based in Oakland, CA / on Chochenyo Ohlone land. She/her/hers.

Photo from Asylum Arts retreat-Stefan Cohen
Photo credit: Stefan Cohen. Photo credit (top): Ethan Goldwater.