Born in Colorado, Carter McKenzie earned her master's degree at the University of Virginia. She currently lives in the Cascade foothills with her two daughters, and teaches creative writing classes to students of all ages in programs sponsored by Young Writers Association and through Writers in Lane County Schools (WILCS). She also serves as one of the founding members of the poetry collective Airlie Press.
Carter's poems have appeared in Fireweed, hipfish, Raising Our Voices: an anthology of Oregon poets against the war, and Dona Nobis Pacem: Grant Us Peace. In 2006, her poem "September 11" was presented as a performance piece at the Hult Center and at Lord Leebrick Theatre in Eugene, Oregon.
Carter is the author of Naming Departure, a chapbook of poetry published by Traprock Books in 2004. Her full-length book of poetry Out of Refusal, published by Airlie Press, was released to bookstores in October 2010.
In addition to teaching, editing, and writing, Carter studies and performs songs in the Scottish Gaelic language with the women's a cappella group Kitchen Ceilidh.
Recognizing the need for poetry in our lives, the Oregon Poetic Voices Project (OPV) has begun to create a comprehensive digital archive of poetry readings that will complement existing print collections of poetry across the state.
"We each carry lines of poetry with us. Words that others have written float back to us and stay with us, indelibly. We clutch these "life lines" like totems, repeat them as mantras, and summon them for comfort and laughter."
-Academy of American Poets