Maureen Seaton 

Maureen Seaton's sixth book of poems, Cave of the Yellow Volkswagen, is recently out from Carnegie Mellon University Press (2009), as is a chapbook, America Loves Carney, winner of the Sow's Ear chapbook contest). Her previous collections are Venus Examines Her Breast (Carnegie Mellon UP, 2004), winner of the Publishing Triangle's Audre Lorde Award; Little Ice Age (Invisible Cities Press, 2001), which was nominated for a National Book Award; Furious Cooking (University of Iowa Press, 1996), winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize and the Lambda Literary Award; Fear of Subways (Eighth Mountain, 1991), winner of the Eighth Mountain Poetry Prize; and The Sea among the Cupboards (New Rivers, 1992), winner of the Capricorn Award and the Society of Midland Authors Award. Her work has appeared in The Best American Poetry, The Atlantic Monthly, Paris Review, New Republic, Green Mountains Review, Indiana Review, Prairie Schooner, Bloom, Quarter after Eight, The Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide, and many other publications both on and off line. The recipient of an NEA fellowship, Illinois Arts Council grant, and two Pushcart Prizes, she is also the author of a memoir, Sex Talks to Girls (University of Wisconsin Press, 2008), winner of the Lambda Literary Award for lesbian memoir.

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Teaching Philosophy (Poetry)


Teaching is an organic extension of my own writing practice and, as I've not-so-surprisingly discovered over the years, vice versa. My highest goal is three-fold: to bring student poets together (with one another as well as with established poets), building a community that fosters authenticity; to furnish writers with specific and adventurous tools for their individual development; and, in the process, to grow in my own creative life. 

I love the collage impulse of non-linearity/non-hierarchy. I love casting the net of the line to see what can be caught and included. I love poems born of chaos and into hybridism. I love popular culture, subversive styles, feminizing and queering traditional form; but I'm equally at home in the middle of a lesson on the terza rima or ancient Japanese court poetry.

In my classroom writers experience the same intellectual freedom that I value in the larger academic community. They work seriously in critique of one another's poetry and make personal decisions about process, authorial options, and social responsibility. They recognize authenticity in their peers' work and risk it in their own writing.

Learning is alchemical. I treasure the transformation that a good advisor/advisee relationship makes possible for both participants on numerous levels. One on one with an engaged poet, working with her/his first book of poems, with the entire community of poets past and present around us, I feel unbelievably lucky.