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    Faculty Mentors

    Faculty Mentors                     Visiting Residency Faculty                      Recent Faculty

     

    (Poetry/Fiction/CNF) Dr. KATE GALE is Managing Editor of Red Hen Press, Editor of the Los Angeles Review and President of the American Composers Forum, LA. She serves on the boards of A Room of Her Own Foundation, the School of Arts and Humanities of Claremont Graduate University and Poetry Society of America. She is author of five books of poetry (her most recent, Mating Season, Tupelo Press), a novel Lake of Fire, and Rio de Sangre, a libretto for an opera with composer Don Davis. Her current projects include a co-written libretto, Paradises Lost with Ursula K. LeGuin with composer Stephen Taylor and a libretto adapted from Kindred by Octavia Butler with composer Billy Childs, a libretto based on The Inner Circle by T. C. Boyle, based on Dr. Kinsey’s life with composer Daniel Felsenfeld, and a libretto, After the Opera with composer Veronika Krauses. Articles, poems and fiction published in various literary journals and magazines, including: Arshile, Bakunin, The Brownstone Review, Chattahoochee Review, Clackmas Literary Review, The Forum, Inside English, Northeast Journal, Paterson Literary Review, Quarterly West, Poems & Plays and Salmon. Gale is a finalist judge for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award of $100,000. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and children. www.kategale.com

    “Teaching is about the process of getting out of the way. It’s all about getting out of the way for me. I think that if we as writers can teach ourselves to get out of the way, we can write. If you are a writer, even a young writer, the process of writing is a quiet pull, a voice, talking to you, stringing you along. Many times we let ourselves get sucked in by all the other stuff we need to do, or the nasty editor in our head who says we’re no good and that gets in the way of writing. We do need to learn to shape and craft and edit, and that’s very important too. But what a good writing teacher does is get out of the way of good writing and teach his or her students to do the same. Language wants to emerge if only we can make room for it, a place, a home.

    “Regarding teaching writers what to expect from the relationship between writer and editor, here is what it’s not: it’s not mother/daughter, father/son, therapist/client, coach/athlete, probation officer/minor offender. Ideally, it’s more like mother/midwife. Two people working together to bring the same creation to life. The editor and writer both bring their own fears, frustrations, expectations and often communication issues to the table. This conversation with an author and her editor is about how those issues can play out in a fruitful manner whether the manuscript is completely ready or not. Either way, in the end, we want a book that makes us all proud.”

     

     

     

    (Poetry) TERI YOUMANS GRIMM A recipient of a Nebraska Arts Council Fellowship, Teri Youmans Grimm’s debut collection of poems, Dirt Eaters, was chosen for the University of Central Florida’s Poetry Series and was published by the University Press of Florida. She received her MFA from Vermont College and was a former instructor in the Writer’s Workshop at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She has also served as the managing editor for Zoo Press and as a contributing editor for Hunger Mountain and The Nebraska Review. Her work has appeared in the Connecticut Review, Indiana Review, Prairie Schooner and Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, among other journals. She is currently researching and working on a series of poems exploring her family’s history with slavery and racism.

    "It is my philosophy that as students, one should not only write in the way that is comfortable, but in a way that challenges the sensibilities. I’ve met many writers who fear reading authors who differ stylistically from themselves or who hesitate to try new approaches to their writing because they fear it will change their 'voice.' It’s my belief that reading and studying a wide variety of writers, subjects, and aesthetics doesn’t change the voice. It gives it dimension.”

     

     

    (Fiction/CNF) AMY HASSINGER received her BA from Barnard College and her MFA from the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop. Her novel The Priest's Madonna (Putnam 2006) was a Book Sense Notable Book and has been translated into four languages.Nina: Adolescence (Putnam 2003) won a Publisher's Weekly Listen Up! Award,and was selected as an Audio Book of the Year by ForeWord Magazine. Amy received a 2006 Finalist Award in prose from the Illinois Arts Council and was named a semi-finalist for the 2005 Julia Peterkin Award.  Her stories and essays have appeared in numerous journals, including Fourth Genre, Hunger Mountain, Arts and Letters, and Salt Hill. She is also the author of the Maine studies textbook Finding Katahdin: An Exploration of Maine's Past (University of Maine Press 2001). Amy lives with her family in Urbana, Illinois, where she is at work on a third novel. www.amyhassinger.com

    "When I approach a student’s work, I like to play the 'believing game,' as Peter Elbow calls it: entering into the piece with faith in its potential, making an effort to discern what it’s trying to be. My first priority is to read with this purpose in mind, and to echo what I discover back to the writer. Usually a piece’s core, its essence, resides where the writing is strongest. It’s very important that a writer know where and how she is succeeding. Once that is clear, we can begin to sort out the problems, where the piece may be missing its own mark."

     

     

    (Poetry/CNF/Fiction)  ALLISON ADELLE HEDGE COKE’s books include: Dog Road Woman (American Book Award) and Off-Season City Pipe (Labor volume, Wordcraft Writer of the Year in Poetry), both poetry from Coffee House Press; Blood Run (free verse-play regarding the Indigenous mound site in Iowa and South Dakota), Salt Publications (UK); Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer (memoir, AIROS Book of the Month Selection), University of Nebraska Press; a chapbook, The Year of the Rat, a dramatic long poem/libretto regarding her bout with illness from rat infestation, and she has edited eight anthologies, including: Sing: Indigenous Poetry of the Americas (University of Arizona), Effigies: New Indigenous Pacific Rim Poetry (Salt), Ahani: Indigenous American Poetry (To Topos Edition, Oregon State University), They Wanted Children, and Coming to Life. Hedge Coke formerly held the Paul W. Reynolds and Clarice Kingston Reynolds Chair in Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska at Kearney and a National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Visiting Professorship at Hartwick College, NY and was core faculty teaching writing, literature, philosophy, education, cultural studies, and poetry in the MFA program at Northern Michigan University. She has won numerous awards for her writing and excellence in teaching (including a King-Chavez-Parks Award), and performs on an international basis, most recently in Argentina, Colombia, and Venezuela. She has been instrumental in creating literary venues and programming with a special focus on Sandhill Cranes/EcoPoetics, Environmental Writing, Labor writing, and incarcerated youth and underserved communities. She is a UNL Center for Great Plains Fellow, and has been awarded fellowship residencies at MacDowell Colony, Weymouth Center, and the Lannan Foundation and serves as visiting faculty in summer sessions at Naropa University MFA program.

    “My teaching goals include inspiration of creative process and thought, instilling a zest for learning and encouraging theoretical and philosophical arenas, complementing the ongoing search for analysis and further development in writing and producing literary works.  I believe it is duty to impart that which we accumulate in life.  To foster a new generation of writers and thinkers in the world would then be the duty of any writer.  It seems a virtual force of nature leads me to engage in teaching, inasmuch as nature causes me to write. The nature of education may successfully render resources for people to reach common goals and covenants, perhaps freeing man from certain friction.  I believe a teacher’s role is one that encourages students to find their niche, their inspiration, and to expand their horizons simultaneously fulfilling individual relation to the world around them.

    “Ultimately, the concentration on image and development of language in an experiential sense are necessary engagements for students.  In an upper level course, possibility becomes more important as an endeavor to encourage and explore.  In a graduate program, my role as an educator is most certainly that of a mentor and provider of possibility, direction, and choice.  I look forward to each new semester with the hope of adding to students’ accumulation of knowledge and realization of purpose, with a sense of duty to ensure I pass along whatever is possible to make certain they carry with them the best I have to offer.  Positive influence on a portion of the new generation of writers, readers, and thinkers is, in my mind, what I intend to leave behind.”

     

     

     

     

    (Poetry/CNF) ART HOMER was raised in the Missouri Ozarks and the Pacific Northwest. He worked on forest trail crews, as an animal caretaker, and as a journeyman ironworker before finishing his education at Portland State University and the University of Montana Graduate Program in Creative Writing. He worked for two years in the Montana Poets in the Schools, has edited Portland Review, CutBank, SmokeRoot Press, and The Nebraska Review—and has taught at several colleges and universities. Since 1982, he has taught poetry and nonfiction writing at the University of Nebraska at Omaha Writer’s Workshop, where he was named a Regents Professor in 1995. Homer’s most recent of four poetry collections, Sight is No Carpenter, was published by WordTech Press in November 2005. His nonfiction book, The Drownt Boy: An Ozark Tale (University of Missouri Press, 1994) was a finalist for the AWP Award in Creative Nonfiction. His books have been reviewed in The Bloomsbury Review, Iowa Review, L.A. Times Book Review, Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, the Des Moines Register, Kansas City Star, Western American Literature, Western Humanities Review and elsewhere. His awards include a Nebraska Arts Council Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and a Pushcart Prize. He and his wife, poet & fine press printer Alison Wilson, are growing grapes in a corner of their 80 acres. They have built their own house in the opposite corner. Art is the proud owner of an old pickup and a young chocolate Lab to ride in the back.

    “I’m often asked 'What is it, exactly, that you teach?' My answer is ‘Synthesis,’ as described by Benjamin Bloom in Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. One of the 'higher level' objectives in a hierarchical system—each level depending upon mastery of those below it—synthesis (putting together) comes after analysis (taking apart) and before evaluation (judgment). Analysis seems easily taught, and judgment nearly impossible to teach. To my mind, the common problems of rushing to judgment and lack of judgment in our intellectual life stem from skipping the step of synthesis in our education—from ignoring creativity in our thinking. I believe that creativity and originality are more important than earnestness and conviction in judging achievement—and in achieving judgment.”

     

     

    (Playwriting) MICHAEL KINGHORN has spent the bulk of his career writing and developing new plays. He has led the literary departments of three regional theaters: the Guthrie, Arena Stage and the Alliance Theatre, where he directed the GroundWorks new play program. As a freelance dramaturg he has consulted on dozens of plays at The Playwrights' Center (and PlayLabs), The Kennedy Center, Studio Arena Theatre, Theatre Emory, Horizon Theatre (Atlanta), History Theatre (St. Paul) and Off-Broadway for Ideal Entertainment, Inc. Michael has taught acting at AMDA in New York City, Connecticut College in New London and the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts in Washington, DC. He has taught playwriting and led writing workshops at Young Playwrights, Inc., the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta; the Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis; the Writers' Center in Bethesda, MD and National American University in Bloomington, MN. Michael's original plays include: Personal Surveillance; The Meanwhile Figure; Paper Scissors Rock; Midgi and Manzi Live in America, and Eating Placebos. His adaptation of the "lost" Sophie Treadwell play, Intimations for Saxophone premiered at Arena Stage in 2005 (with developmental workshops at SITI Company and New York Theatre Workshop). He has translated plays by Brazilian dramatists Vinicius de Moraes (Black Orpheus), Luis Alberto de Abreu (Thief of Women), Ricardo Torres (Death over the Mud and In Pieces), and has written (or devised) adaptations of fiction by Anton Chekov (Enemies, Lizanka) and Henry James (Never Give a Lady a Restive Horse). Michael recently completed the book and lyrics for a musical called P.G. and the comedy sequel called Limited Partnership, Ltd. Michael holds the BFA degree in theater from the University of North Dakota, the MFA in Dramaturgy from the Yale School of Drama. He was a Jerome Playwriting Fellow at the Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis in 1984 (where he continues to work today as a freelance dramaturg and director).

     

    "My approach to teaching playwriting is a straightforward one. I help students develop a methodology for learning to write their own kind of plays and prepare them for the collaborative process. While I can't teach students how to write a successful play, I can direct their theatrical instincts, advise them on craft and technique and suggest strategies for improvement. As a new play professional I employ a holistic approach to mentoring playwrights, based on the kind of collaboration that happens in new play development today. I understand the expectations actors and directors place on new plays and model those approaches in the mentor/playwright relationship."

     

     

    (Poetry) STEVE LANGAN graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he received the Paul Engle Postgraduate Fellowship from the James Michener Foundation. His most recent collection of poems, Meet Me at the Happy Bar, 2009, is from BlazeVOX [books]. Notes on Exile & Other Poems, a chapbook, received the 2005 Weldon Kees Award from the Backwaters Press. Langan’s debut collection, Freezing, was published in 2001 by New Issues Poetry & Prose. His poems have appeared in The Kenyon Review, Chicago Review, DoubleTake, Colorado Review, Prairie Schooner, Verse, Fence, Witness and Shade; recent publications include Beloit Poetry Journal, Drunken Boat, The Iowa Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, Notre Dame Review, Tarpaulin Sky and Zoland Poetry. Langan serves as Executive Director of HONOReform, a national patient advocacy organization, and he’s working toward a Ph.D. in medical humanities at the University of Nebraska Medical Center,concentrating on collaborating with physicians on creative writing projects. He lives in Omaha and, during part of the year, on Cliff Island, Maine.

     

    “In workshop and through correspondence and conversations during the mentoring process, I seek to guide writers toward achieving fullness in their poems and discursive writing—challenging them along the way to broaden aesthetic notions and their reading of poetry from the tradition and contemporary work—helping them work to develop an original voice.”