B.A., Morningside College
M.A. and Ph.D., University of Iowa
What classes are you currently teaching?
Poetry classes and Middle Eastern Literature.
What activities or campus organizations are you actively involved with?
Faculty Advisor for the Poetry Club. I attend every musical performance, play and art show in which my students are participating.
What makes Coe stand out from other schools?
The tremendous emphasis on creative writing. Four members of the English faculty have studied in the Iowa Writers' Workshop, the most prestigious workshop in the country. We have three literary magazines, all edited by students. Every year we bring noted writers and film makers to campus-recently two former Poets Laureates of the United States have visited campus and talked to classes, so the students here have a vital community of writers among themselves, with the faculty, and with the distinguished visitors.
What is your favorite class to teach and why?
I can't choose. I like all of them so much. However, because of my experiences living and traveling in the Middle East, I think I have some special insight into teaching Middle Eastern Literature.
Name your most memorable Coe lecture and what it meant to you.
Each semester we have a student reading where the students read from their fiction and poetry. This is always a highlight for me as nothing delights me more than to hear good student work.
What is your most memorable moment interacting with a Coe student?
When I was teaching at the University of Aleppo in Syria, I was able to bring three Coe students to discuss with their Syrian counterparts ways that they could improve their writing. The Syrian students loved the Coe students, and the Coe students had a great experience. The Chair of the Department in Syria told me, "This is worth a million dollars in diplomacy."
What research or projects are you currently working on with Coe students?
I am constantly working on poems and other forms of writing with students who are getting their work ready to submit for publication.
What book are you currently reading?
I am reading "A Peace to End All Peace" and "Snow." Both books are about Turkey.
What do you enjoy doing outside of class?
Reading and hiking. I go to Colorado every year to hike in the mountains.
What is the best getaway location, local or abroad?
Spirit Lake, Iowa. It's the center of the universe.
What does teaching at Coe mean to you?
It's a great place to teach because I can get to know the students and work with them individually. It is a great pleasure to watch students grow in their understanding and improve their writing skills.
What is your favorite thing about Coe?
The small classes so I can work with each student individually.
What is your favorite Coe tradition?
Hanging out at the coffee shop, Brewed Awakenings