Poet. Teacher. Reviewer. Badass Mama. I am all the things.
I started my education at West Chester University as part of the Honors College where I earned my BA in English with minors in Philosophy and Creative Writing, graduating summa cum laude with university honors. After a year off where I interned in publishing (medical reference texts. Ugh) and worked as a waitress at a country club on Philadelphia’s Mainline (also ugh), I moved to State College, PA, to attend the Pennsylvania State University. I graduated with my MFA in poetry, with highest honors, in 2001. I studied with Julia Kasdorf and Robin Becker.
I am the author of FULL, a chapbook with dancing girl press. My first full-length poetry collection, The Four Ugliest Children in Christendom, came out with The Word Works in the spring of 2019 and is available for purchase through Small Press Distribution Center. You can find more of my work at Zone 3, Poems2Go, Menacing Hedge, Radar Poetry, Atticus Review, Split Lip, The Writer’s Almanac, Indiana Review, Mid-American Review, Barrow Street, From the Fishouse, and other venues.
In addition to teaching, I served as a grant and case writer for local non-profits and an editor for multiple student series edited by Harold Bloom under Chelsea House Publishers. I have written for and edited books on everything from Frankenstein and Satan, to A Streetcar Named Desire and H.D. My biography of Meg Cabot helped to pay for my wedding and kept me up-to-date on young adult fiction. Over the course of ten years, I volunteered at the West Chester Poetry Conference.
During my time at Penn State, I have taught fourteen different courses, ranging from composition and rhetoric to creative writing to literature. I also worked as the Head of Advising for the Department of English and American Studies for three years. With Sheila Squillante, I ran the Red Weather Reading Series at Penn State for many years where we hosted writers including GC Waldrep, Paula Bohince, Roald Hoffman, and John Rowell, among many other writers. I also co-directed the now-defunct Young Writers Program at PSU. Over the last six years, I served as Reviews Editor at Literary Mama. Now, I direct the High School Writing Day at Penn State and I am the 2019 recipient of the Nancy Lowe Excellence in Teaching Rhetoric and Writing Award.
I am also very interested in poetry outreach, and I have participated in the Juniper Hill-PA Center for the Book collaboration, Poems from Life, for the last three years. In the program, poets work with residents from the senior community and write poems about their lives. It culminates in a reading series, poster series, and chapbook to commemorate the moment. Beloved by both writers and participants, the work returns poetry to the community in powerful affirming ways. Whole families gather to celebrate their loved ones and for those who are alone in their worlds, the chance to tell their story offers some a renewed commitment to life.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, with my fuzzy husband, I parent two wily children. In some ways, they keep me from writing, and in other ways, they give me a lifetime of fodder for the page. Seeing their language evolve, watching them accumulate options for expression, helps to broaden my own sense of what is possible. My husband, with his degrees in physics, astronomy, anthropology, and archaeology, brings strange things to my attention, and on Sunday mornings, I sneak away to live my writing life.