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College for Creative Studies

Thirteen years since I started teaching my Creative Writing class at Douglas County Jail just outside Lawrence, Kansas.  Thirteen years, hundreds of classes, thousands of inmates in my class over the years.

I’ve taught for over twenty years at the University of Kansas.  I’ve taught in France, Senegal, Zambia, Japan and England.  But there’s no doubt at all that my writing class at Douglas County Jail has been the best teaching experience of my life.

I was there again on...

open - notebook paper and hands - jperkins

Yes, I remember being a young writer. I think my eighth grade English teacher, Mr. Hershey, was encouraging me, but at the time, it felt more like I was...

I'm a very, very slow writer. I am glacial. I move at the pace of lakes "making" ice. I don't write every day. I don't even write every week. I definitely don't do a poem a day in April. I hate free-writes. I don't dislike, but am wary of, prompts. I never attend workshops where I need to produce new work overnight or in class. I'm not a poet who gets "an idea" for a poem—a phrase will come into my head and I'll walk around with it for weeks until I'm finally compelled to put it down on...

North American Review
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Cedar Falls, IA 50613

Phone: 319-273-6455


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