I have published two books, Your Essay Is a Country and Proofreading the Histories, with Alice James Books. My poems have also been published in journals such as Yellow Mountains Review, Captain Mountain, and Ploughshares and anthologized in Oak River: Five Vermont Poets (1997) and Contemporary Poets of New Hampshire (2002). Since 2004 have been working for a popular online writing service as an essay writer. I wrote and produced Minus Music, a performance poem for four voices that played at Burlington’s FlynnSpace, Goddard College, and St. Michael’s College in 2003.
I have been passionately interested in art since childhood. My grandmother, an accomplished painter and teacher, took me to the great New York museums and introduced me not only to Rembrandt and Monet, but also Picasso, Chagall, and Rothko. She was a wonderful role model. She and my grandfather, who died before I was born, made a life together in art. He designed buildings, including his own home, and made prints; she painted portraits and landscapes and founded the art department at the University of Alabama. When the Depression hit, they lost their house — but they figured it out. They joined forces and painted public murals for the Works Progress Administration. He founded the Southern Printmakers Society, which toured exhibits of fine prints to southern cities and towns, giving the artists exposure and making beautiful art widely available at affordable prices. Unfortunately, I did not inherit their visual talents, but they both taught me — especially my grandmother — that art, beauty, and imagination matter.
In fact, I come from a family of makers. My dad has built a couple of houses and designed and built furniture. I’ve got a bureau and a coffee table he built in the ‘50s. Last winter, he built a wooden dinghy. I’m not sure why; I guess he was up for the challenge because it was something he hadn’t built before. My siblings are musicians; they all have lovely voices and play at least two instruments. When we were young, they organized themselves into a quartet, pulling in a neighbor, and sang folksongs at family gatherings. I can barely carry a tune.
Instead of painting or singing, I took up writing. My love of literature and writing grew during high school. I read hungrily and happily, and wrote as much as I could. I discovered the poetry section in a bookstore and the wild and wonderful poems of Denise Levertov, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Kenneth Patchen, and just kept reading and writing. My teachers, in high school especially, encouraged me. My family, though a bit mystified by poetry, did too. I’m sure that my grandmother, who had died by then, played her part in spirit.
Five years after graduation from college, I discovered that I also love to teach. This discovery led me to graduate school, and now I get to combine my love of literature and writing with my love of teaching.