I am available for readings, workshops, private mentoring, & consultations on manuscripts from 7pp to book-length. My only regret in retirement is missing my students–so poets at all levels welcome! I also love collaborating with visual artists, book-makers & paper-makers.
Every new environment brings a new inquiry, an evolving poetics. As a poet I want each book to embody–in its sounds, its rhythms, its surprises–my living on this earth & the earth living through me. For the last 20 years walking has been central to my practice, as have the various arts of research & collage. Composition of my poems is keenly aural & physical. When I read from my work I feel each poem become embodied again, newly, mingled with the presence & energy of those who listen.
That is my path as a poet. As a teacher, I want you to walk your own walk, hear with your own ears, build your own forms. My job is to help you grow in your own directions. That requires a good foundation & a large toolkit, so part of my work is to expose you to new poetry, new forms to inhabit, new boundaries to cross.
My MFA thesis advisees have published widely and won both regional and national prizes for their first books, including the Yale Younger Poets Series, the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets, the Cleveland State University First Book Prize, the New Measures Prize, the Srinivas Rayoprol Poetry Prize (India), and the Washington Writers Publishing House Poetry Prize (twice). Others have received generous financial aid to pursue the PhD in Poetics, Literature, and Creative Writing; founded literary journals and presses; and found careers at institutions as diverse as The Library of Congress and the Environmental Defense Fund.
My BA, BFA, and Honors students have continued into graduate study, professional writing & editing, poetry therapy, and other writer-centric lives. George Mason is a highly diverse university, so one of the pleasures of teaching there was working with immigrant, first-generation, and multi-lingual writers, as well as adult students, military veterans, and LGBT/non-binary writers. I am grateful for the huge variety of poets I had a chance to know, to mentor, and to learn from.
I also enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with visual artists and paper-makers, and to co-curate Call & Response, an annual exhibit for which writing students were paired with art students to produce linked or collaborative work. Call & Response flourished in connection with a dozen years of my Book Beasts course, exploring erasure, visual texts, procedural texts, hand-made books, the artist’s book as memoir, and poetry at its intersections with visual arts, land art, and walking art. I also collaborated with a folklore colleague to team-teach courses on the traditional ballads of Scotland, England, & the US.
Before my career at George Mason, I was a freelance writer, taught a few community workshops, and was a Colorado Arts Council Artist-in-Residence for a month in Yuma, Colorado, where (among several projects) I led a workshop for a battered women’s recovery group. Since the publication of Trafficke I have co-taught workshops on writing about race, privilege, and whiteness. More recently, The Avalanche Path in Summer and the forthcoming North | Rock | Edge: Shetland 2017/2019 have led me into conversations on ecopoetics, embodied experience, and the indeterminacy of lyric awareness.
Here’s what I taught & directed at George Mason–
Form of Poetry / Poetry Workshop / Thesis Workshop / Poetic Sequence & Collage / War Poetry / Poetry from & as Research / Moore & Niedecker (& sometimes Loy) / Modernist Women Poets / Identity Poetics / Traditional Ballads (co-taught with Margaret Yocom) / Book Beasts (visual poetry, mesostics, book arts, constrained text, erasure…) / Directed Reading
Intro to Creative Writing / Poetry Writing / Advanced Poetry Workshop / Form of Poetry / American Poetry of 20th Century / Recent American Poetry / Women Writers / Book Beasts
Exhibition & Performance
Call & Response / Material Word / Poetry Theater