Lee Ann Roripaugh
Lee Ann Roripaugh
- Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, and Poetry Mentor
- Former South Dakota Poet Laureate
- MFA in Writing
LEE ANN RORIPAUGH is the author of five volumes of poetry, the most recent of which, tsunami vs. the fukushima 50 (Milkweed Editions, 2019) was listed as a finalist for the 2019 Lambda Literary Awards, and named a best volume of poetry in 2019 by the New York Public Library. Her second volume, Year of the Snake (Southern Illinois University Press), was named winner of the Association of Asian American Studies Book Award in Poetry/Prose for 2004, and her first book, Beyond Heart Mountain (Penguin Books), was a 1998 winner of the National Poetry Series. The recipient of a 2003 Archibald Bush Foundation Individual Artist Fellowship, she was also named the 2004 winner of the Prairie Schooner Strousse Award, the 2001 winner of the Frederick Manfred Award for Best Creative Writing awarded by the Western Literature Association, and the 1995 winner of the Randall Jarrell International Poetry Prize. Her short stories have been shortlisted as stories of note in the Pushcart Prize anthologies, and five of her essays have been shortlisted as essays of note for the Best American Essays anthology. Her poetry, essays, and short stories have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. The South Dakota State Poet Laureate from 2015-2019, Roripaugh is a Professor of English at the University of South Dakota, where she serves as Director of Creative Writing and Editor-in-Chief of South Dakota Review.
“The creative writing teacher cannot ‘teach’ her students to be writers. Rather, I attempt to aid and abet my students in thinking about, exploring, experimenting with, and working through the creative process. In doing so, I assume the multiple guises of mentor, guide, professional advisor, sympathetic reader, audience at large, critic, and collaborator. My goal is for students to become better writers, and it is ostensibly this same goal that leads student writers, either intuitively or deliberately, into the creative writing classroom—to seek out audience, guidance, and feedback. Along these lines, I strive to be generous with my own creative energy—offering students serious and careful consideration of their work, administering professional/career advice and encouragement, and taking the time to enter into a process of artistic collaboration with each individual student. Ultimately, it is never my goal to impose my own aesthetic sensibilities and tastes upon the student, but rather to be flexible and versatile enough to approach each piece of work on its own terms.
“Another important goal is for students to become better readers—engaged, diverse, and sensitive readers who read not only for pleasure and scholarship, but are capable of reading with a ‘writerly’ eye. I want students to constantly explore a wide panoply of creative possibilities found within a diverse array of literary models. I feel it is important to break down preconceived notions or prohibitions about what constitutes ‘literature,’ as well as develop the necessary critical tools to consider the concepts of craft, style, and technique and the intersection of these concepts with respect to aesthetic strategies and choices. In the same way that visual artists or musicians refine and hone their technical skills in their respective mediums, so, too, must writers learn to refine and hone their technical skills through experimentation, practice, and revision. The application of these reading skills not only develops the ability to provide constructive criticism within the workshop environment, but also allows students to become increasingly independent in the critical process of assessing and revising their own work. In addition to literary models, I also believe student should be encouraged to explore the other arts as sources of creative stimuli, aesthetic possibilities, and inspiration, so that they will be fully open to the wealth of possibilities for trans-disciplinary modeling of multi-disciplinary collaboration.”