My poetry career has been somewhat unconventional: my first book, Tongue Tied Woman, won a national chapbook publication award when I was a 40-year-old college senior; all of the poems in the book were written before I entered as a freshman at the age of 37. My second book, Work Is Love Made Visible, won three awards in 2010: the Western Heritage Award, Oklahoma Book Award, and the WILLA from Women Writing the West. I am currently working on my third poetry collection, tentatively titled How We Became White (inspired by an essay by Major Jackson on "white" poets and writing race). I am also the editor of Mongrel Empire Press, a CLMP small press established in 2007 dedicated to regional and unusual literary works.
I believe that to be a good writer, you must be a good reader; therefore, I prefer teaching creative writing courses that make room for reading craft and aesthetics essays, and most importantly, for reading in the genre. It is important that creative writing students are aware of the aesthetic legacy, stylistic history, critical controversies, and current state of their craft. Finally, I believe that writers have ethical responsibilities to themselves, their communities, and the world. Therefore, readings for my creative writing courses include poems, stories, and essays that struggle with ethical dilemmas and work for social justice. I encourage my students to compose artistically excellent works that engage with contemporary issues as part of their writing practice.
In addition to teaching poetry courses, I will be sharing my training, interest, and experience in pedagogy with creative writing students to help them prepare for teaching careers. I will also offer workshops in professional presence for creative writers which will cover essential professional writing such as grant applications, job letters, and book reviews, and technological tasks like using web sites social media to create a professional online presence.