- M.F.A. in Creative Writing, University of Idaho
- B.A. in Literature and Creative Writing, Whitworth University
I believe, as Mary Oliver says in A Poetry Handbook, that "Good poems are the best teachers." But I also believe that very bad poems and even mediocre, somewhat successful poems can be equally instructive. As a founding editor of the literary journal Blood Orange Review, I read hundreds of poems each month that range from awful to awe-inspiring. Nothing has been more important to my own education as a writer than to have the opportunity to read less-than-perfect literary attempts. I share this experience with my students as a way of showing them that writing "good" poetry is not a fixed target and that we can learn likewise from the masters and from each other.
In my classroom, I focus on demystifying poetry writing through discussion of the creative process. I introduce literary terminology in order to help new writers develop a "toolbox" of ideas that allows them to participate in the conversation of what poetry is. In workshops, I demonstrate peer-review techniques that move beyond statements of "I like this" or "I don't like this" and invite students to get their hands dirty with each other's work.
Previously, I worked in the field of nonprofit communications and marketing for a children's museum. In this role, I saw children discovering new ideas and learning while playing. I try to carry this same playful spirit into my classroom by engaging my students with interactive exercises and fun experiments to generate fresh writing.
My experience as a writer, reader and editor of poetry informs my role as teacher. Regardless of their career path, my students can benefit from the study of poetry that sensitizes them to the choices we make when writing. My ultimate goal in the classroom is to encourage my students to cultivate a love of language through writing and reading poetry that can enhance their personal and professional lives.
- Eng 135 Poetry Writing
Publications and Recent Honors
- Congress of Strange People (poems), Airlie Press 2012.
- The Heart That Lies Outside the Body, winner of the 2007 Slapering Hol Press Chapbook Competition
- My poetry is widely published in literary journals including AGNI, Crab Orchard Review, Gulf Coast, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Seattle Review, and Willow Springs.
- Grant Recipient, 2011 Artist Fellowship, Oregon Arts Commission
- Pushcart Prize nominee (2004-2009)
- Grant Recipient, 2009 Individual Artist Career Opportunity Grant, Oregon Arts Commission
- Finalist, Brittingham Prize in poetry, University of Wisconsin Press, 2006, 2008
- Grant Recipient, 2007 Arizona Commission on the Arts Project Grant
- Published in Best New Poets (University of Virginia Press, 2006)
- Honorable Mention, Chapbook contest, Center for Book Arts, 2006
- Grant Recipient, 2005 Artist Professional Development Grant