Poem in The Jewish Journal!

Over the years, The Jewish Journal has been very supportive of my work, often republishing poems from my earlier books. Recently, The Jewish Journal reprinted “Shabbat Prayer, on the Occasion of War,” which is the closing poem in my third book, Stateside. “Shabbat Prayer, on the Occasion of War” is a sonnet that begins with a line from Siegried […]

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Back from the Tupelo Truchas Poetry Conference

Lately, I’ve been thinking about my many years as a student. As much as I love leading a classroom, I sometimes miss the vulnerability, excitement, and growth that comes with being a student, how the student can feel herself changing and developing with each semester, how her teachers become essential figures in the story of […]

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New Poem in Southwest Review!

Last summer, as kind of poetic palate cleanser, I wrote dozens and dozens of sonnets, mostly about the ordinary objects that surround us. One of those poems, “Wireless Doorbell,” appears in the current issue of The Southwest Review. This sonnet came out of a creepy thing that kept happening in the first months after I moved into […]

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Back from Poetry by the Sea

I’ve just returned from Poetry by the Sea: A Global Conference. And, as is always the case after a poetry-related trip, I am exhausted! I had a wonderful time at the Conference, serving as the first Poet in Residence. I was also lucky to be accompanied by my husband, who so many people know from […]

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Hello, Summer

The semester has ended, and I’m thinking about the long summer ahead. I have many projects planned: more poems to write for Wild Kingdom, a book review of Michael Shewmaker’s Penumbra, and a collaborative project with my dear friend James Allen Hall (more about that to come). Often I find that I’m most productive when my schedule is […]

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Those Winter Sundays

Another poem that has always meant a tremendous amount to me is Robert Hayden’s “Those Winter Sundays.” I love to teach it (but usually struggle to read it aloud to my students without choking up). I love the precision of Hayden’s choices–“Sundays too my father got up early”–that use of “too” such an efficient use […]

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A Display of Mackerel

In the classroom, many of my writing prompts focus on imitation, on the act of engaging in a conversation with our literary predecessors and contemporaries. I preach the idea that poets should be permeable, that our poems should show the influences of what we’re reading, because I practice it in my own work. For instance, Mark […]

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The Handmaid’s Tale

Like so many readers, I first discovered Margaret Atwood’s dystopic novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, when I was a sophomore or junior in college. It was the mid-90s, about a decade after the book’s publication. But, already, The Handmaid’s Tale was canonical (and I went to school known for its particular love of literary canons, St. John’s College, […]

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The Writer

My first academic year at the University of North Texas will be over in a few, short weeks (tempus really does fugit). Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about one of my favorite poems by Richard Wilbur, “The Writer.” It’s a poem about learning and teaching, how difficult both kinds of work can be, the dangers that […]

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The Campus Novel

As part of my research for my current manuscript-in-progress, Wild Kingdom, I’ve been doing a lot of reading about the “campus novel,” that is, a novel that is set at an academic institution and that often deals with the palace intrigue of a department (most frequently, of an English department). This summer, I’m planning to (re)read […]

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