I’ve “grown up” as a writer here for the last thirty years. I moved to Denver with my husband, Leonard, an actual Colorado native, to finish my Ph.D. in Literature and poetry at the University of Denver in 1986. I pretty much lived and breathed poetry my first decade here, publishing , Air into Breath, which won the Colorado Book Award for poetry and Stepping Sideways into Poetry for Scholastic Inc. I was lucky enough to receive a Colorado Artist Fellowship in Poetry, an associateship with the Rocky Mountain Women’s Institute, and a Colorado Endowment for the Humanities Grant, for which I designed and developed Teaching the River of Words website for the Colorado Humanities Center for the Book. (Somewhere along the way, after my twin daughters’ teeth started sprouting from the roofs of their mouths, I took a job with an ed tech company and co-wrote two books on online learning for McGraw Hill. Go figure. ) Blissful poet, right?
And then something funny happened on the way to the poetry reading . . .again, I lucked out and was given an opportunity to teach for Ashland University’s low residency MFA program, which focused then only on poetry and creative nonfiction. Wow. I loved poetry, but then I heard William Kittridge read from his nonfiction and felt like I had been delivered a dope slap from the universe. Here was the blissful commingling of poetry and prose. I was hooked.
Since then, I’ve written essays that have been published in Fourth Genre, Hotel Amerika, River Teeth, The Florida Review, and Puerto del Sol. What for me was my “break out” essay, Bathing, was named a notable essay in Best American Essays and included, along with another essay, (Note to Self): The Lyric essay, in the 6th edition of The Fourth Genre: Contemporary Writers of/a Creative Nonfiction textbook/anthology. And then another book was born, Phantom Canyon: Essays of Reclamation, published by our local press, Conundrum. Phantom Canyon: Essays of Reclamation was a finalist for the 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards in nonfiction.
Today, I still write and publish poetry and creative nonfiction. My newest collection of essays, tentatively titled, Migrations at 9600 Feet, come from a year-long column I wrote for Beacon. I’ve taught writing at Arapahoe Community College for twelve years now, where I run the ACC Writers Studio, and I am now teaching creative nonfiction and poetry for Regis University’s Mile Hi MFA program. Again, I count myself lucky to live in Colorado and to be part of this incredible collective of women writers writing in the Rockies.