“I think I always loved the way you can make patterns with words,” Michelle Detorie explains. “I enjoyed nursery rhymes and songs, and I loved reading and being in my imagination, and language was a way to create and structure and sustain those engagements.”
This love of language and poetry certainly shines through in her first published poetry collection, After-Cave, recently released by Ahsahnta Press. A collection of abstract pieces, After-Cave explores feminine and feral nature through poems featuring a possibly human and possibly alive narrator. As Michelle explains, After-Cave offers an experimental narrative perspective: “My own adolescence and coming-of-age in South Carolina is also there. The main speaker in the book is a 15 year old girl who doesn’t know if she is human.”
While earning her MFA at Texas State University in 2004, Michelle focused on themes of gender, intersectionality, and animals. She also devoted time to researching ancient and medieval forms of divination, which she experimented with as a way to make poems. This inspired her thesis, titled “Myomancy,” which refers to a type of divination done by observing mice. These themes persist in After-Cave, which she describes as being inspired by “a decades-long engagement with feminism and feminist poetics, and a life-long fascination with animals and the natural world.”
Michelle, who notably held the Rose Fellowship while attending Texas State University, currently lives and teaches in Santa Barbara, California, at Santa Barbara City College. In addition to writing frequently, Michelle has also created a public art project called The Poetry Booth. Michelle describes The Poetry Booth as a “free, and mobile site-specific installation that works as both a display and workspace for experiencing and creating poems with the guidance of practiced poets and educators.” The booth, which provides a physical space with tables, chairs, and supplies, has traveled to several locations in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.
Clare Barker is an Assistant Professor at Colorado Technical University Online. She is working on her PhD at the University of New Mexico under Dr. Anita Obermeier and Dr. Helen Damico. This upcoming fall, she will transfer to the University of Durham in the United Kingdom. Her dissertation will focus on mental health and stability in medieval mystics, saints, and visionaries.
For the past year, English graduate Evangelina Yanez has been working as an Academic Support Intern at Wayfinder Schools Camden (Maine) campus through a program supervised by AmeriCorps of Northern New England. The program is based on a nine-month accelerated graduation plan, with the potential to graduate eight students a year. During the day Evangelina assisted in classes including American Sign Language, reading, writing, radio, as well as a block called Real Life Skills. Monday through Wednesdays after academics, she and a residential overnight counselor would eat dinner with the students and oversee daily chores. They would then facilitate homework hour and use free time to connect with students on a more personal level. Evangelina was also in charge of heading service learning projects in the community, such as coordinating visits to the elder care home up the road and working at the community garden.
Dr. Joddy Murray has been invited to become an ACE Fellow by the American Council on Education. Dr. Murray received a master’s degree from Texas State University. .[Link archived]
Amanda Mixon, MA in Literature graduate, has been accepted into the Comparative Literature PhD Program at UC-Irvine, and was awarded two of the university’s most prestigious fellowships: the Dean’s Fellowship and the Provost ‘s Fellowship, which will fund her first year, dissertation year, and summers in the program; along with the Diversity Recruitment Fellowship, which will fund her move to California. The years in between will be funded by Teaching Assistantships in the Department of English and the Department of Gender & Sexuality Studies.
Is the Room, the debut poetry collection from MFA poetry graduate Rosetta Ballew-Jennings, has just been published by Jaded Ibis Productions.
Elliott Brandsma was recently awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and is now study
ing Icelandic language and literature at the University of Iceland. [Link archived]
Dr. Pamela Buchanan Miller is a native of El Paso, Texas. After graduating from Southwest Texas State University with her M.A. in English in 1992, she moved to Mobile where she joined the University of Mobile’s Center for Adult Programs. She has served as Dean of the Center since 2008. Over the past 20 years, she has had the pleasure of working with more than a thousand adult students. She earned her Ph.D. in Instructional Development and Design from the University of Southern Alabama in 2009, where her research focused on characteristics of adult learners.