Kay Kestner

Poet and playwright searching the soul of words through a grammatically incorrect and poorly punctuated mind.


“Poetry, more than any other form of writing, unites writer and reader on an intimate level. In my poetry, I try to connect one to one with the reader. Even at readings, my goal is to have everyone feel like I am talking individually with just that singular person instead of an audience, hoping to create the sense of the two of us sitting off to the side, in an intimate space, sharing something personal, honest, and sacred together.”

Click on the links below to explore some of Kay Kestner’s poetry:


“Playwrighting comes naturally to me. It’s dialogue based. A conversation between characters and with the audience. It’s out loud. The story is spoken. I have a form of dyslexia that makes words only connect in sound. For me to comprehend the written word I must give it a voice that I can hear. What is on the page must become a character that talks to me or else I cannot comprehend what is written. This obstacle that left me functionally illiterate until my early 20’s, in the end became the gift that turned me into a natural playwright. “


Kay Kestner grew up working at her family’s store in Pine Lake Park, NJ. There she learned to stock shelves and work a register but did not learn to read.
Emboldened in her teens by the saying, “three chords and the truth,” she began taking the words from in her head and scribbling them down on paper as short poems. At that same time, she fervently set out to teach herself to read and became fully literate in her early twenties.
Her poetry has recently been published in the UK’s Amethyst Review and Seclouth Station, Australia’s Otoliths and Burrow, and the US’s Soup Can Magazine Issue #6 and Anti-Heroin Chic.
Her screenplay, ART NEVER LIES, was a 2022 finalist in the Bigfoot in Collaboration with Trinity College Dublin Screenwriting Contest.
She was the founder and editor of Poetry Breakfast and has led writing workshops at the Water Witch Writing Series and NJ Poetry and Arts Barn.

Listen to a full reading of “Live Your Own Language”


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