Professional and Biographical Information
B.Arch., Architecture & Design, University of Kentucky (2005)
M.F.A., Poetry, Indiana University (2015)
My career at Amherst College began as a poet. I was awarded the position of Writer in Residence and Director of Creative Writing in 2018. In 2020, I became an Assistant Professor of English with an emphasis on creative writing and literature courses that focus on contemporary poetry, nonfiction, and hybrid literary forms.
Although I was primarily hired to work in poetry, my writing foci lie primarily in the world of music journalism, black culture, and pop critique—all of which feature prominently in my essay collection This Is Major: Note On Diana Ross, Dark Girls, and Being Dope (Harper Perennial, 2020). I have published three collections of poems: I Think I’m Ready to See Frank Ocean (Saturnalia Books, 2016); A Speed Education in Human Being (Sawyer House Press, 2013); and the chapbook PANTONE, which was published in limited edition internationally by the Belgian press MIEL Books in 2016.
Aside from living on the page, my work usually inhabits the multidisciplinary. For the book I Think I’m Ready to See Frank Ocean, I created and toured with a cover band, the Oceanographers, to bring to life the music of the eponymous singer as part of the experience of …See Frank Ocean’s poetry. PANTONE debuted as a bespoke poetry and fragrance compilation; I collaborated with the apothecary company AGE OF EARTH to take objects from the book to curate the sensory experience of poems about color—sight, taste & touch—into scent.
My undergraduate degree was a five-year combined bachelor’s and master’s in architecture, and prior to attending graduate school for poetry, I worked as a practicing architect. Upon graduating from my M.F.A. program, I worked as a senior-level copywriter for web and social media, writing for both Nike and Google.
I am constantly working on new projects that bring the worlds of art and personal narrative into conversation.
Because of my professional background in design and media—both freelance and full-time in corporate firms—I teach creative writing with a slant toward the student’s potential as a producer of digital content.
Students come from a generation that has always lived amid social media. They have been learning the tools to package themselves as a product for probably as long as they have been online. My goal is to teach students how to bring their story in conversation with their innate talents for self-promotion and show them how to bend the way they write about themselves. (Or, as Missy Elliot would say, to put their thing down flip it and reverse it / ti esrever dna ti pilf nwod gniht…) to maximize the power of their voices as a commodity.
- THIS IS MAJOR: Notes on Diana Ross, Dark Girls, and Being Dope (Harper Perennial, 2020)
- I Think I’m Ready to See Frank Ocean (Saturnalia Books, 2018)
- PANTONE (MIEL Books, 2016)
- A Speed Education in Human Being (Sawyer House Press, 2013)
Awards, Honors, and Residencies
Allen Research Fellow, New York Public Library (2019)
Cave Canem Poetry Prize, Ti Ador(n)o, 2nd Place (2018)
Yaddo Artist Colony Fellow (2018)
MacDowell Colony Fellow (2017)
Oregon Literary Fellow in Poetry (2017)
Pushcart Anthology, Honorable Mention (2016)
Toyota Alumni Performance Grant (2015)
Giorgio Cini Foundation of Venice, Italy—Scholar in Residence (2014)
Dr. Fred R. Robbins Memorial Award for Emerging Writers (2013)