Tag Archives: Kathleen Willard

Image by Jill Salahub

  • Next Wednesday, Doug Cloud will be giving a workshop for the School of Global Environmental Sustainability (SoGES) Sustainability Fellows titled “Talking Science with Conservative, Religious and Other Potentially Skeptical Audiences.”
  • Tobi Jacobi participated at the recent Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) through a panel presentation entitled, “Not “All Ellas”: Risking Exploitation in a Prison Public Memory Project,” and a preconference prison teaching workshop (“The Prison Next Door: What Types of Connections Do We Want to Cultivate?”).
  • Michael Knisely’s Boulder’s Rocky Ridge Music Academy photography exhibit runs through April, he will also showcase additional photographs as part of the Month of Photography exhibit at the ACE Storage gallery on north Broadway also in Boulder. A collaboration of poets and visual artist’s exhibit at the First Congregational Church at Broadway and Spruce Streets in Boulder will feature two of his poems. He will also be reading from his poetry work as part of a large poetry reading this Friday for the First Friday Arts event at the First Congregational Church, which runs from 6:30 – 8:00 this Friday evening.
  • Dan Robinson’s paper, The Second Battle of the Champagne & the Inexpressibility Topos, has been accepted for the XVIII International Hemingway Conference in Paris next summer.
  • Morgan Riedl (MA in CNF, 2017) has a piece up on Brevity’s blog.  It’s a hermit crab essay in the form of a workshop critique of Sean Spicer’s press conferences.  You can read it here: https://brevity.wordpress.com/2017/03/30/workshop-comments-for-sean-spicer/
  • Catie Young’s poem “Merrily Merrily M​errily Merrily” is in the new issue of The Volta: ​http://www.thevolta.org/twstbs-poem185-cyoung.html
  • On April 21, John Calderazzo will read an essay at the Sacred Mountains and Landscapes conference at The New School.  The essay will discuss a centuries-old agricultural ritual in the Peruvian Andes he attended in which Quechua people have recently changed their behavior because of the climate change induced shrinking of their glaciers.
  • Felicia Zamora’s (MFA ’12) first book, Of Form & Gather, winner of the 2016 Andrès Montoya Poetry Prize, was released on February 28 from the University of Notre Dame Press. Of Form & Gather is listed as one of the “9 Outstanding Latino Books Recently Published by Independent and University Presses” by NBC News. Her manuscript Galaxy Inside Your Inadequately Small Heart was selected as a finalist in the 2017 Alice James Award and the 2017 Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize for Poetry. Her poem “In all the pretty roam” was featured on Zòcalo Public Square on Friday, March 17 and her poem “Virgule” was selected by The Georgia Review for publication. Zamora read her poetry for the AKO Collective’s Day Without A Woman recognition event on March 8.
  • Kathleen Willard will be the BreckCreate Breckenridge Creative Arts Tin Shop Guest Artist in Residence for the month of April. In addition to working on her new poetry manuscript, she will give a poetry reading, conduct four poetry workshops, and host a community poetry reading. She hosts Open Studio Hours at the Tin Shop Thursday through Sunday to talk about poetry and share her process. The BreckCreate website has details of her events.

Checkout the English Department’s new lunch counter!  In response to our See Change 2 request for more common space for faculty and staff, we have put the west end of Eddy to work. Two lunch counters are open and ready to entice you out of your offices for lunch and conversation. We will devote the exhibit space above each counter to departmental work on diversity and inclusion for at least the first year.

  • The northwest corner launches this new “Counter Talk” space with an exhibit featuring the 1960 Greensboro lunch counter sit-in and additional images — including two from the Smithsonian’s 2010 50th anniversary celebration.  Look here for some interesting ways to incorporate such moments into your courses: http://americanhistory.si.edu/freedomandjustice.

Stay tuned: Jaime Jordan’s exhibit featuring a moment in her CO150 course will be added next week to the southwest counter.


The English department has FOUR different writing contests running right now. Check out the details here, and submit something!

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Kathleen Willard

English Teacher and Poet

Masters of Fine Arts in Poetry, 2004

Kathleen's Headshot


Kathleen Willard’s poetry projects include a travelogue documenting a month long stay in India, an investigation of St. Francis of Assisi based on relics and art depicting his life, a series of sonnets to Mary Shelley, a mistranslation of Ovid’s Metamorphosis using an early 20th Century high school Latin workbook in addition to documenting her life in northern Colorado. One of her interests is using received forms—dictionary entries, tourist brochures, indexes, lists, newspaper articles, and fairy tales—as structures for her poems.

Her poetry has been influenced by travels to India, Italy, Turkey, Portugal and from growing up in a nomadic career military family.

She received a Masters of Arts in English from Middlebury College’s Breadloaf School of English and a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Colorado State University.

Awards include a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship to study in India, a National Endowment of Humanities Fellowship to study the New England Renaissance in Massachusetts, and an Arts Alive Fellowship to support her trip to Turkey.  She received a fellowship to travel and write in Lisbon, Portugal at the Disquiet International Literary Program and to be in residence at the Vermont Studio Center.

She has taught creative writing in public schools, colleges, prisons, and senior housing projects.

Read the interview below to learn more!

(The biographical information above from Colorado Poets Center)

Why did you choose to study at CSU?

I applied to the MFA Program and was accepted. I was thrilled as I had wanted an MFA in Poetry for years and knew that places at the table were limited. I returned to college after a several decade hiatus to work on my MFA in Creative Writing in Poetry. I was a public school teacher and have written poetry since my teens. I still have copies of my high school literary magazine where my first poems were published. From that moment on, I was intoxicated by the act of writing a poem. For years, I wanted to work on an advanced degree in writing, and the convergence of being accepted into the program and receiving a sabbatical from the Poudre School District set me on my desired course.

I wanted to fine tune and hone my craft. I wanted to join a circle of people who were serious about an art form that will never make them rich, that has a limited “market”, but felt compelled like I do, to confront the blank page and write a poem. I needed to get out of my quiet studio, my predictable workplace and moved to the next level of my craft. I wanted to be challenged and my work at CSU provided me with the opportunity to grow as a writer in ways not possible when writing solo.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?

Living the life of a poet and not giving up. Writing against impossible odds. One receives many “no’s” before one gets a “yes” as a writer of poetry. Because of my poems, I received a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship to travel to India, a fellowship to the Disquiet International Literary Program in Lisbon, Portugal, received a fellowship to attend Vermont Studio Center, an artist colony, twice and have had many poetry adventures. Finally, a chapbook of my poetry, Cirque & Sky, was published this year and won the Middle Creek Publishing & Audio’s Fledge Poetry Contest.

How did your major prepare you for your job and the life you have now?

Being an English major prepares one for many jobs and is a prerequisite to become a teacher. I worked in publishing and as a freelance writer, but my career was as a public school English teacher. I wanted to be a writing teacher that had first contact with developing, emerging writers and readers of literature. That first contact happens in 9th grade when students leap from YA Literature into classic literature.

I had a calling. I wanted to help students master Shakespeare and The Odyssey, both very difficult texts. I wanted to share my experience as a writer and help students develop confidence in crafting their ideas, honing their thinking and sharing their ideas with the world through writing. I was especially driven to be the teacher that helps students love poetry and they did come to love poetry as poetry is the language of adolescents.

A large banner with George Orwell quote was prominently displayed in the front of my classroom, “If you do not write well, you cannot think well. If you cannot think well, others will do your thinking for you.” This was my quest—to help students think for themselves.

What advice do you have for prospective English students?

Follow your passion. Many people will question your choice to major in English. I tried very hard not be an English major, and studied Political Science. I took a course on Women and Literature and read 15 novels written by women and I was hooked. People undervalue a degree in English, but, it is one of the most flexible degrees on the planet. You can teach, work in publishing, work in marketing, work in politics, or run a business. As an English major, you are fine tuning analytical thinking and research skills, and mastering communication and writing skills, all highly valued workplace skills. When you study a novel deeply, you are also studying history, philosophy, culture, psychology, religion, and science, as characters in novels inhabit a unique time and space. When you write an essay, you are crafting a new idea and exploring new territory. Writing is a creative act, another valuable workplace skill. But, if you are like me, encountering a beautifully crafted poem or novel or short story or essay or sentence is reward enough to study literature.

Were there any faculty in the English Department that had a special impact on your writing life? 

When I became a student at CSU, I wanted to push myself as a citizen of the poetry world, and be involved with an engaged literary community. The professors at CSU have created a learning environment that fostered my journey.

My thesis advisor, Lauren Mullen, pushed me intellectually and helped me fine tune my craft with the precision of a sculptor. She pushed me to question everything I knew about poetry before entering the program and with her guidance I became a better critic of my work and the work of others. She radicalized my approach to my poetry. Mary Crow guided me on a journey into Surrealism and into work by international poets that I would have never read on my own and enriched my body of knowledge. Bill Tremblay continues to be interested in my work long past my graduation, as we are in an occasional writing group. John Calderazzo, even though I never took any of his classes, has always been curious about my writing and kind to me. John wrote a wonderful book jacket blurb for my first chapbook of poetry, Cirque & Sky. Dan Beachy-Quick, who arrived at CSU long after I graduated, also wrote a wonderful book blurb, proof positive CSU alums are forever connected to the MFA program.

What was your last piece of writing?

My last piece of writing is my current piece of writing. I am working on a project with the Denver’s Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop and the American Museum of Western Art in Denver called Writing the West. I am currently revising three poems based on three paintings in the museum—Trapper at Fault, Looking at Trail, Desert Journey, and Corn Dancer. The poems will be published as a book and be part of a permanent installation at the museum. They are also making an audio recording of the writing in the project and the recording with be part of their audio tour for the collection.

Why is poetry important? What does it mean to or do for you, all of us?

Poetry connects people across all the artificial divides we have created. It speaks cross cultures and gender, beyond religion and politics and its speaks across the ages. Poets are keen observers of the world and poets have no tie to any marketplace or economy and therefore, we are truth tellers as we know we will never make a living producing our art. We are keen observers of the world around us. We write like investigative reporters as we write deep and close to the bone.

Who are some of your favorite poets?

Sappho, Emily Dickinson, Eavan Boland, W.B. Yeats, Seamus Heaney and Fernando Pessoa.

What is your writing process, practice like?

I write by hand on the largest art blank sketchbook paper I can buy. I write outside the lines and let the paper be a field I explore. I write by hand until I cannot write anymore on that subject. Then I go to the computer. And revise revise revise. It takes me a very long time to complete a poem.

I don’t have a fixed time to write, but am always thinking about the next poem or the current one so when I hit my desk, words explode.

How would you describe the poetry you write?

I am a lyric poet, but try to push the boundaries of the lyric into the 21st Century. Currently, I am writing pastorals praising the beauty of the Rocky Mountain West and anti-pastorals lyric poems about fracking, benzene spills, Superfund sites, toxic wastes from the decades of mining and pine bark beetle infestations. My chapbook Cirque & Sky deals with this material, but I am working on a book length manuscript on this issue.

What fuels, feeds your poetry?

Poems are everywhere. Always be open. One just has to listen. Get out in the world. Don’t isolate yourself in your studio. Writing a poem is a moveable feast. It can be done anywhere. Follow one’s obsessions—there are poems in there. Read. Read. Read. Read.

Go the opera. Art museums. Theatre. Antique shops. Get outdoors and walk or fly fish or hike. Learn the names of all the living creatures and plants in your region. Figure out a way to travel. As travel is destabilizing, and in destabilization, poems occur. I have traveled to India, Turkey, Portugal and the Azores—my short list. Each time I cross a new border, I am on alert. Can’t afford to travel across the globe? The West is also a foreign country—travel beyond the Front Range. It’s incredible.

What sort of legacy would you like your poetry, your life to leave?

I would like my poetic legacy to be about interconnectedness. We are connected to the planet and to each other. Williams Carlos Williams said poetry is about contact. When one reads a poem, he believed contact between reader and writer occurs and that is the purpose of all art. I hope my poems make contact with readers.








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  • Dan Beachy-Quick will be on Colorado Matters on the Denver NPR station on May 11.
  • Ellen Brinks has been invited to give a plenary talk at the conference “Forgotten Geographies in the Fin de Siècle, 1880-1920,” at Birkbeck College, University of London, in early July.
  • Doug Cloud’s article, “Talking Climate Change Across Difference” has been accepted for publication in a special issue of Reflections focused on “Sustainable Communities and Environmental Communication.” The issue will be out this fall.
  • Roze Hentschell will be leading a group of 10 CSU Honors Program students to study in Oxford, England. From late May through June, the students will take her 3 credit class, “Shakespeare in Oxford,” and they will take field trips to Bath, Windsor, Stratford-upon-Avon, and London. The students will also take a 3 credit independent tutorial with an Oxford professor in their field of study.
  • A short story from Colorado Review, “Midterm,” by Leslie Johnson (Spring 2015), has been selected for the 2017 Pushcart Prize anthology. You can read the story here: http://coloradoreview.colostate.edu/features/midterm/
  • The Community Literacy Center received a $5000 grant from the Bohemian Pharos Fund in support of the youth SpeakOut writing workshops.
  • Tobi Jacobi and Lara Roberts’s essay, “Developing Self-Care Strategies for Volunteers in a Prison Writing Program” appears in the new edited collection, The Volunteer Sector in Prisons: Encouraging Institutional and Personal Change (May 2016).
  • Larissa Willkomm’s research poster on a collaborative writing project on women, jail, and addiction won a 3rd place service learning prize at the recent CSU CURC competition.  Larissa completed this project as part of her CLC internship and work with SpeakOut.

    Larissa presenting her work at the recent CURC

    Larissa presenting her work at the recent CURC

  • Dana Masden’s short story “Exercise, a Good Book, and a Cup of Tea” will be published in an upcoming issue of Third Coast.
  • Kristina Quynn’s essay “My Brother, My….” is part of the just published collection of personal essays from 2Leaf Press on white privilege and whiteness in America.  The collection, What Does It Mean to Be White In America, includes an introduction by Debby White and an afterword by Tara Betts. While not light summer reading, it could be useful to those teaching about race in America.  You can find more information at: http://whiteinamerica.org
  • The following group presented a panel at the April 29 Writing on the Range Conference at the University of Denver, where Cheryl Ball was the featured speaker: Tim Amidon, Hannah Caballero, Doug Cloud, Sue Doe, Ed Lessor, Amanda Memoli, and James Roller. The group focused on examples, challenges, questions, and opportunities associated with integrating multimodality into writing. The presentation was entitled:”A Case of Wishful Thinking?  Our Plans for an Integrated and Coordinated Multimodal Curriculum.”
  • Mary Crow will take part in a public reception and reading for artworks inspired by poems May 19 in Loveland at Artworks, 6:30 p.m., 310 N. Railroad Ave. (Hwy 287 to 3rd, then R a block). She will read her poem. “Dear X,” and the artwork it inspired will be part of the exhibit.
  • “Food for Bears” by Kayann Short (BA 81; MA 88), an essay about the 2015 Front Range food collapse, appears in the latest issue of the environmental literary magazine, The Hopper.
  • Kathleen Willard’s (MFA, poetry Spring 2004) poetry chapbook Cirque & Sky won Middle Creek Publishing & Audio’s Fledge Chapbook Contest. Her book is a series of pastorals and anti-pastorals that “attunes its lyric eye to local ecological crises” (Dan Beachy-Quick)  & evokes “a periodic table of agitation over the continued plunder of Colorado and by extension the world.” (John Calderazzo). Her book is available online at Middle Creek Publishing and Audio, and Amazon.

    Kathleen Willard gave a reading with other Middle Creek Publishing & Audio poets in Pueblo, Colorado as part of the Earth Day Celebration sponsored by Colorado State University at Pueblo and the Sierra Club on April 23rd at Songbird Cellars, a local winery.

    She is also speaking at the Colorado Creative Industry Summit at Carbondale, Colorado on May 5th. In her presentation “Thinking Outside the Book”, she will share how receiving a Colorado Creative Industry Career Advancement Grant shifted her thinking about publishing poetry, how by using some basic business practices increased her poetry readership, and led her to pursue alternative spaces for her poetry, such as art galleries, community newspapers, installations, & the Denver Botanic Gardens CSA Art Share Project. While still wildly interested in the traditional modes of book publication, she would like to increase chance encounters that the public may have with poetry outside the book.

    She is also curating with Todd Simmons of Wolverine Farm and Publishing, a Food Truck Reading Series at Wolverine Farm Letterpress this summer, which is being supported by New Belgium Brewing Company.

    The Fort Collins Book Launch for Cirque & Sky will be June 21st, Midsummer’s Eve at Wolverine Letterpress.

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