Community of Poets

I feel so lucky to belong to such a warm, supportive community of poets.  Please take some time to learn about some of my poet friends, and to read their enriching work.

Laura Lee Washburn, the director of PSU’s creative writing department, has been my mentor since I took my first creative writing class in 2001.  In 2004 she started the beloved workshop group I’ve belonged to ever since.  Laura has published two books of poetry.  For a sampling of her poems, as well as her bio, visit and

Al Ortolani, the high school English teacher in large part responsible for my choosing the same career, is also the co-editor of Little Balkans Press.  The fact that Al is the one who published my book means the world to me.  Al has published eight books of poetry, including Ghost Sign.  For more information about Al, visit  For more information about The Little Balkans Review, visit

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate, has been incredibly supportive of Kansas poets.  She’s published anthologies featuring literally hundreds of Kansas writers (Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poets and To the Stars through Difficulties: A Kansas Renga in 150 Voices), and she’s the founder of the website Kansas Time + Place.  Caryn is the author or editor of nineteen books.  For more information about Caryn, visit

Roland Sodowsky, a dear friend and a member of my workshop group, is an Association of Writers and Writing Programs Award winner—and a National Cowboy Hall of Fame Short Fiction Award winner. He’s been enormously inspiring to me over the years. For a sampling of his poems, and to read his bio, visit

Chris Anderson, also a good friend in my workshop group, is an English professor at PSU.  In 2013-2014, he was the editor of the special all-poetry issues of The Midwest Quarterly.  To read one of my favorite poems by Chris, as well as his bio, visit!/content/16145/randolph_county_poem_by_christopher_anderson.  To read the issues of TMQ that Chris edited, visit

Allison Blevins, a member of my workshop group and fellow PSU creative writing alum, just received her MFA at Queens University of Charlotte.  Allison was instrumental in helping me shape While the Kettle’s On.  She was the first person to look at an early draft of the manuscript, and I’m so grateful for her input.  For a sampling of her poems, plus her bio, visit

Canese Jarboe, a friend and fellow PSU creative writing alum, is the editor of velvet-tail, an incredible online zine in which she turns published poems into works of art.  To read this zine, which features a poem by Utah’s first poet laureate, David Lee, visit

Alarie Tennille, a terrific poet I met at The Writer’s Place in Kansas City, has been so encouraging from the moment I met her.  She is the author of Running Counterclockwise and Spiraling into Control.  For more about Alarie, visit

Roy J. Beckemeyer, a member of my online writing group, is the author of Music I Once Could Dance To, a 2015 Kansas Notable Book Award winner.  For more about Roy, visit

Lindsey Martin-Bowen, a member of my online writing group, is the author of several poetry collections, including Inside Virgil’s Garage.  For more about Lindsey, visit her Facebook author’s page



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