I’m a poet and an educator, but I didn’t become either until my late thirties when divorce propelled me to seek therapeutic tools to map experience and explore a catalogue of emotions that had been repressed for several of my adult years. As acts of both survival and exploration, I earned a BA, MA, and MFA—all with a focus on creative writing—and began to write and publish poems. These endeavors naturally led me to take on a number of academic teaching roles, primarily instructing first-year composition courses, but with a few opportunities to teach creative writing here and there.
Over the past six years, I’ve had the good fortune to learn from some excellent faculty/poets and have my work published in several notable journals including The Berkeley Poetry Review, and Welter, in addition to the publication of my first chapbook White Goat Black Sheep—a series of lyric stanzas about two young sisters reeling in the wake of sexual assault. Most of my poetry explores themes related to trauma, sexuality, the female body, and motherhood. Writing on these topics has opened my world, both in terms of internal space and public interaction. I’ve been able to write through personal traumas and help others do the same.
Currently, as a writing professor at Michigan State University, I am working with a number of inspiring teachers and writers who are equally interested in how various forms of written composition impact health and well-being and I’m looking forward to leading workshops in the community to help survivors integrate grief and stabilize self via artistic expression. I am a strong believer in art, broadly defined, as essential to navigate difficult experiences, order chaos, beautify madness, and enact empowerment by re-shaping stories. When life spirals out of our control, art allows us to regain individual agency and invite community to share in that process.
This is why I’m delighted to be an intern with Sundress Publications and support their visionary concerns for community, diversity, and healing. I look forward to discovering how this internship will broaden my understanding of the publishing world, expand my writing community, and enhance my practicum as an educator.
Kimberly Ann Priest is a professor of first-year writing at Michigan State University, a poet, and a mother of two very-recently-inaugurated young adults. She likes to buy coffee mugs from coffee shops that impress her during her travels. Though she’s already visited nearly all of the forty-eight mainland United States, she will never turn down a road trip. You will either find her contemplating life and writing poetry or cruising in her Mini Cooper “Marilyn” (Monroe). This year, she has work forthcoming in The Coachella Review and Glass Poetry.