BA English: Creative Writing, 2009
Former Oval Nonfiction Editor, 2008-2009
Former Oval Prose Reader, 2007-2008
After graduating from UM in 2009 I took a job pouring concrete in Amarillo, Texas. I had dreams of becoming the kind of writer who toiled all day long but still woke up early in the morning to work on his novel. By the end of summer I was back home in Vermillion, South Dakota, knocking on doors in the university’s English department, asking for late admission to the MA program. They let me in and gave me a job in the Writing Center and I spent the next year tutoring and developing an interest in early modern European literature. Meanwhile, I was applying to MFA programs and was accepted at Portland State University in late spring.
I left my program at the University of South Dakota and moved to Portland in August of 2010. I almost immediately started to work on what would become my MFA thesis, a novel called Rural Water. I spent the next two and a half years writing and teaching and reading. In my second year I became the prose editor and copy editor of PSU’s then-ailing literary magazine, The Portland Review. We on the editorial team had high hopes of turning the magazine around, but we found ourselves short on guidance and institutional support. (There was no one like Robert Stubblefield working with The Portland Review and at the time the magazine was not associated with the English Department or the MFA program.) Thankfully, the two editorial teams who succeeded us brought the magazine out of its doldrums and gave it a new life online and in print. Along the way of my MFA excursion at Portland State, I finished my MA in English as well, submitting a thesis essay on the epistemology of Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy.
On February 20th, 2013, I boarded a plane bound for Santiago, Chile, where I was moving to accept a position teaching 11th and 12th grade English. Over the course of the year I adapted my teaching style to (hopefully) better serve high-schoolers and English language learners and embarked on a project to co-design a new high school English curriculum with the assistant principal. For the upcoming academic year I’ll be directing the English department and spending any free time traveling in South America and revising my novel.