Full Worm Moon has won a Woodrow Hall Top Shelf Award! In addition, The Conference on Christianity and Literature recognized my book, Full Worm Moon: A Book of Poems, with an honorable mention in its 2018 Book-of-the-Year Award competition. The recognition letter states, “An unusually large number of excellent creative works were submitted for this year’s competition. You can be justly proud of this recognition, given the extraordinary quality and variety of works considered in this year’s competition.” Congratulations to Micheal O’Siadhail for winning the award for his epic poem, Five Quintets. Published in The Poiema Poetry Series by Cascade Books in 2018, Full Worm Moon also includes five poems nominated for the Pushcart Prize. More information about my collection, including how to order a copy, is below and on my Books page.
For those of you unfamiliar with my background, 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 the Midwest 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.”
I’ve taught poetry at the Antioch Writers’ Workshop and at local arts centers; done readings at universities, literary festivals, bookstores, libraries, and cafés; and visited college and high school classes to share my work and teach lessons. So if you’re interested in having me do a reading or teach a workshop/class at your conference, school, bookstore, café, arts centre, writers’ workshop, or other venue, just click the link above.
Background Photo Credit: Dr. Kevin Roper