Carine Topal, a native New Yorker, writes and teaches in Los Angeles. After graduating from college, she moved to Jerusalem, Israel, where she worked with Palestinian merchants, traveling to villages and towns in the West Bank and Bethlehem. She was also employed by the Office of Assimilation, in a small town outside Jerusalem, working with Morrocan Jews. She then moved to Heidelberg, Germany, where she lived on the American army base. After returning to the states and earning a Master's Degree from New York University, she moved to Southern California. Since 1982, she has anthologized the poetry of special needs children. She participated in the grassroots organization California Poets in the Schools. She 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 been published in many journals throughout the U.S. and Canada. In 2004, she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and in 2005, awarded a residency at Hedgebrook, as well as a fellowship in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 2006, Carine had the good fortune of teaching poetry at the VA Hospital in Los Angeles. She is the recipient of numerous poetry awards, including the Jane Kenyon Poetry Prize, and most recently, the 2007 Robert G. Cohn Prose Poetry Award from California Arts and Letters. A special edition chapbook, Bed of Want, was recently published by Black Zinnias. Her new collection of poetry, In the Heaven of Never Before, is due out in December 2008, published by Moon Tide Press.
Carine won the Cultural Arts Commission 2008 Excellence in Arts Award from the City of Torrance.