I am a writer who grew up in Moorestown, New Jersey, and transformed from Jersey Girl to Heartland Lover when I came to college in rural, southwestern Ohio, in the early 1980s. I earned my B.A. in English, then my M.A. in English at the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio. I subsequently taught for ten years at our nation’s oldest historical black liberal arts college, Wilberforce University. I then returned to my alma mater, Cedarville University, where I taught for 18 years. I now direct the writing center at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana.
I spent my childhood years filling spiral notebooks with poetry and stories. Despite feeling “called” to write, I became sidetracked by the world of academia and a genuine enjoyment for—as well as the work load required by—teaching. In my mid-thirties, however, I realized I might die without ever fulfilling my dream of writing a book. Panic-driven and poetry-inspired, I began to read every contemporary poet I could get my hands on. And I kept reading. In 2005, I also participated in the Antioch Writers’ Workshop (AWW), which greatly expanded my creative thinking and writing skills. I’ve also participated in Image Journal‘s Glen Workshop the last few summers, always an enriching experience for me. I consider every writer I read a mentor and the hours spent reading my life-long education (with no graduation in sight!).
My work thus far explores “place” in its broadest sense: Some poems revel in the wonder of creation or bemoan the damages it’s sustained, both here in southwest Ohio and across the globe. Other poems discover connections between the natural world and the spiritual and emotional realms. Still other poems explore the place of faith amid great pain–and the necessary place of pain amid faith. The poetic exploration of such places yields an abundance of questions and an abundance of discovery, even if that discovery is merely a reminder of the mysteries inherent in truth and beauty. These are the daunting themes my poetry addresses. And every time I begin to write a poem, intimidation sits on my shoulder, whispering in my ear, “Who do you think you are? This is beyond you. Don’t even try.”
On these pages, you’ll find information about my publications, including some samples of my poetry; links to poetry, interviews, and reviews of my work online; news about readings I’m doing and classes I’m teaching; and contact information, if you’d like to hire me to do a reading or teach a workshop/class at your conference, school, bookstore, café, arts centre, writers’ workshop, or other venue. Enjoy!
Background Photo Credit: Dr. Kevin Roper
Author Photo Credit: Carol Sybenga