About Denise

Welcome. Thanks for visiting.

Denise Kodi is an award-winning writer who tackles tough subjects with humor and sensitivity. Raised in a strict evangelical home, she is drawn to outliers and misfits. Themes in her work include: family, social norms & so-called deviants, class struggle, women, finding meaning in the midst of suffering and the amazing potential of the human spirit.

Denise’s work has been anthologized in Crack the Spine 2014. Her stories and essays have also appeared in Poem Memoir Story, The Sun, Skirt Magazine, Minerva Rising, Progenitor (for which she won the Creative Nonfiction Prize) and elsewhere. She has served as a judge in book and essay competitions, worked in a literacy program for with at-risk youth and co-founded a charitable organization to encourage young talent through anonymous gifts.

The first in her family to attend college, Denise graduated with honors from the University of Colorado Denver, with degrees in English Literature and French, studied at the University of Picardie in Amiens, France and lived in Prague, Czech Republic teaching English.

From Colorado to Alabama

Denise currently lives in Alabama. How she got there is a wild story involving a quirky vision quest, mishaps at a commune, an escape to Dollywood and a surprising invitation to help cook chili with a community of women in NE Alabama. These women took her in like she was one of their own, fed her home-cooked meals with organic produce and also nourished her soul.

Since living in Alabama Denise has witnessed the incomparable beauty of blooming dogwoods and magnolia trees, the vibrant colors of the hardwoods in autumn and the extraordinary kindness of southerners. She has survived torrential rains, tornado warnings and a tick bite. She also accidentally ran over a turtle one time and cried.



You can read all posts about Denise’s Quirky Road Trip (newest to oldest) by clicking here.


Published Works, Interviews & Online Readings

Speaking in Tongues – Crack The Spine Anthology 2014
Layered in dark humor, “Speaking in Tongues” explores the quest for identity in the midst of chaos. Adapted from my memoir and selected by Crack the Spine (Issue 116), later selected for their Fall 2014 anthology, available on Amazon


Drugged & Imprisoned: true story of being drugged and imprisoned at a notorious Bible college in Indiana. Originally published on Religion’s Cell. For some reason this had 200+ facebook shares and I received a ton of email (and some hate mail) from folks all across the country.


Chasing Euphoria   –  UAB, Poem, Memoir, Story*

A crazy revelation in a Hallmark store leads to trouble. This piece showcases the slow and humiliating evolution from conditioned behavior into awakening. Featured in
University of Alabama, Birmingham’s journal Poem Memoir Story (PMS), vol. 11, Spring 2012.


The Dark  –   Progenitor *
In the aftermath of a suicide attempt, the narrator struggles to makes sense of the past and rebuild her life. Winner of the Writer’s Studio Creative Nonfiction Prize (2008) and published in the Progenitor, 2009.


The Middle of Nowhere   –   The SUN
“The Middle of Nowhere” was the theme for this short piece about the power of fantasy, as a troubled teen projects herself into the imagined lives of others. Featured inThe Sun, Readers Write section, September 2009.


Relinquish   –   Minerva Rising
Each year approximately 130,000 women surrender a child for adoption in the U.S. We’re rarely offered a glimpse into their deeply personal, sometimes tragic, but loving stories. This is one of those stories. Published in Minerva Rising, Issue 4, 2013.

Interview @ Talking About Suicide

I was honored to take part in an interview conducted by journalist Cara Anna for Talking about Suicide. I disclose some of my personal story for a worthy cause.

[ * ] titles with asterisk were published under my former last name, Turner