Visiting Writers

2020 – 2021


Anastacia Tolbert

Visiting WriterThe English Department welcomes visiting writer Anastacia Tolbert to Seattle University in winter 2021 to teach When Poetry Meets Activism (ENGL 3910-06).

Anastacia-Renee is a writer, educator, interdisciplinary artist, TEDx Speaker and podcaster. She is a 2020 Arc Fellow(4Culture) and Jack Straw Curator. Renee is the recipient of the James W. Ray Distinguished Artist Award for Washington Artist (2018), Seattle Civic Poet (2017-2019), and Poet-in-Residence at Hugo House (2015-2017). Renee has received fellowships and residencies from Cave Canem, Hedgebrook, VONA, Ragdale, Mineral School, and The New Orleans Writers Residency. Her poems and essays have been anthologized in: Furious Flower: Seeding the Future of African American Poetry, Spirited Stone: Lessons from Kubota’s Garden,Seismic: Seattle City of Literature and her poetry and fiction have appeared in, Spark, Foglifter, Auburn Avenue, Catapult, Alta, Torch, and many more.

Anastacia Tolbert: Website

Frye Museum Exhibit


Theo Nestor

Theo Nestor, Visiting Writer for Winter 2018

The English Department welcomes Theo Nestor to Seattle University in Fall 2019 to teach Writing the Personal narrative (ENGL 3110-01).

Although memoir has only recently become a popular genre, writers have long been employing a variety of literary genres to portray the experience of the self. Writing the Self will introduce you to an array of examples of how writers have used these different genres for autobiographical expression. We’ll examine and discuss together autobiographical personal essay, poetry, drama, fiction, and the graphic memoir, focusing on the possibilities of each form as a vehicle for expressing individual experience and identity. Your written work in this class will include weekly activities that will give you a chance to try your hand at the various genres, as well as a longer work in one genre. The course will provide students with tools, strategies, and a lexicon for giving feedback on peer writers’ work and multiple opportunities for workshopping in small and large groups.

Theo Pauline Nestor is the author of Writing Is My Drink: A Writer's Story of Finding her own Voice (And a Guide to how you can too) (Simon & Schuster 2013) and How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed: A Memoir of Starting Over (Crown, 2008). Her work has also appeared in numerous anthologies and publications, such as the New York Times, The Establishment, The Rumpus, Modern Love: 50 True and Extraordinary Tales of Desire, Deceit, and Devotion, and Ask Me About My Divorce: Women Open Up About Moving On. An award-winning instructor, Nestor has taught at the University of Washington, Cornish College, Hugo House, and Hedgebrook.

Reagan Jackson

The English Department welcomes Reagan jackson to Seattle University in Winter 2020 to teach Writing the Personal Narrative: Mixed Tape Memoir (ENGL 3120-01).

Reagan Jackson is a writer, artist, activist, international educator and award winning journalist. She builds and facilitates leadership programs for Young Women Empowered and is a regular contributor to the Seattle Globalist and the South Seattle Emerald. Her published works include two children’s books (“Coco LaSwish: A Fish from a Different Rainbow” and “Coco LaSwish: When Rainbows Go Blue”) and three collections of poetry (“God, Hair, Love, and America, Love and Guatemala” and “Summoning Unicorns”).

2017 – 2018

Claudia Castro Luna

Visiting writer Claudia Castro Luna

The English Department welcomes Claudia Castro Luna to Seattle University in Winter 2019 to teach Writing Lyric Poetry (ENGL 3150-01).

In Winter Term 2019, we are proud to welcome our Washington State Poet Laurette, Claudia Castro Luna, who will teach “ENGL 3150: Writing Lyric Poetry” (Tues/Thurs 10:15-12:20). Professor Castro Luna will also be hosting an event, “Celebrating Indigenous Poets of the Pacific Northwest” during winter term—stay tuned for dates and details! 

Claudia Castro Luna is Washington State Poet Laureate. She served as Seattle’s Civic Poet, from 2015-2017 and is the author of the Pushcart nominated Killing Marías (Two Sylvias Press) and This City, (Floating Bridge Press) and the creator of the acclaimed Seattle Poetic Grid. She is also a Hedgebrook and VONA alumna, a 2014 Jack Straw fellow, the recipient of a King County 4Culture grant and an individual artist grant from Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture. Born in El Salvador she came to the United States in 1981. She has an MA in Urban Planning, a teaching certificate and an MFA in poetry. Her poems have appeared in Poetry Northwest, La Bloga, Dialogo and Psychological Perspectives among others. Her non-fiction work can be read in several anthologies, among them This Is The Place: Women Writing About Home, (Seal Press) Claudia is currently working on a memoir, Like Water to Drink, about her experience escaping the civil war in El Salvador. Living in English and Spanish, she writes and teaches in Seattle where she gardens and keeps chickens with her husband and their three children. Since 2009, Claudia maintains Cipota bajo la Luna, a blog with reflections, writing and reviews.

Deamond Arrindell

Visiting writer Deamond Arrindell

The English Department welcomes Deamond Arrindell to Seattle University in Spring 2019 to teach Spoken Word Poetry.

Back by popular demand in Spring Term 2019, Daemond Arrindell will be joining us again to teach his highly successful “Spoken Word Poetry” class. As usual, Professor Arrindell will host his popular slam poetry event at the culmination of the class, complete with spoken word poetry guests from the Seattle literary community! 

Daemond Arrindell is a poet, performer, and teaching artist. Writer-In-Residence through Seattle Arts & Lectures' Writers in the Schools Program; and in 2012, he taught Seattle University’s first course in Slam Poetry. He has performed and facilitated workshops in poetry venues, prisons, high schools and colleges across the country, including through Freehold Theatre's Engaged Theatre program, and he has been repeatedly commissioned by both Seattle and Bellevue Arts Museums. Recently he was selected for “13 for ‘13,” a joint project between the Seattle Times and KUOW profiling 13 influential people in Seattle’s art scene.

2016 – 2017


Daemond Arrindell

The English Department welcomes Daemond Arrindell to Seattle University in Fall 2016 to teach Slam Poetry (ENGL 3910-01).

Daemond Arrindell is a poet, performer, and teaching artist. He is a faculty member of TAT Lab, the Washington state Teaching Artist Training Lab and Freehold Theatre leading poetry and theater residencies at Monroe Correctional Complex for men for the last ten years; Adjunct faculty at Seattle University, Cornish College for the Arts and Tacoma’s School of the Arts; Writer-In-Residence through Seattle Arts & Lectures' Writers in the Schools Program and Skagit River Poetry Foundation.

He has performed in venues across the country and has been repeatedly commissioned by both Seattle and Bellevue Art Museums.

He is a Jack Straw Writers Fellow, a VONA Voices Writers’ Workshop fellow and his work has been published by Specter and Crosscut magazines. In 2013 he was chosen for “13 for ‘13,” a joint project between the Seattle Times and KUOW, profiling thirteen influential people in Seattle’s art scene. More recently he was featured alongside Sherman Alexie in TEXTure - a conversation amongst artists via their chosen mediums and became an Artist In Residence at Tacoma Community College.

Slam Poetry is a term used to describe the style of writing and performance that has taken the world of poetry by storm since the inception of the "Poetry Slam" in the late 80's. But what is the slam style of poetry? And what is a poetry slam? In this course, we will dive deep into those questions and their answers. A main focus of this class will be to discuss, evaluate and analyze past and present slam poems, poets and styles both on the page as well as in performance. To observe what makes these poems effective, powerful, and moving within the craft of writing and what skill the poets employ to bring those poems to life on the stage. The goals of the course will be to for you to gain the skills to write well-crafted poems (imagistic, personal, and evocative) and to then employ the performance style that will best serve the theme and voice of each piece.

Nicole Hardy

The English Department welcomes Nicole Hardy to Seattle University in Winter 2017 to teach From Memory to Memoir: Crafting Our Personal Stories (ENGL 3910-05).

Nicole Hardy's memoir, Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin was a finalist for the 2014 Washington State Book Award. Her other books include the poetry collections This Blonde and Mud Flap Girl’s XX Guide to Facial Profiling–a chapbook of pop-culture inspired sonnets. Her work has appeared in literary journals and newspapers including The New York Times, and has been adapted for radio and stage. Her essay "Single, Female, Mormon, Alone" was noted in 2012’s “Best American Essays." She earned her MFA at the Bennington College Writing Seminars. Visit her at

Memoir is not about telling secrets. It’s about the universal human experience, which is always found—and often best told—through our singular, specific stories. This course is about understanding the value of personal writing, as well as the study of story and structure—those elements that a story beyond simple confession.

For instance, many people may think that writing true stories is easy. How hard can it be to just write what actually happened? The truth is, though, that it can be incredibly difficult to open oneself up to judgment (and sometimes ridicule) in the search for a deeper understanding. In addition, there’s the task of creating narrative structure, dramatic tension, believable characters, and a plot that moves and surprises. This class will walk students through the process of mining personal memories in the search of crafting effective memoirs.

2015 – 2016


Deborah Poe

 The English Department welcomes Deborah Poe to Seattle University in Winter 2016 to teach Poetry off the Page: Creating Multimedia Poetry (ENGL 3910-04).

Deborah Poe is the author of the poetry collections Keep (in circulation), the last will be stone, too  (Stockport Flats), Elements (Stockport Flats), and Our Parenthetical Ontology (CustomWords), as well as a novella in verse, Hélène (Furniture Press). Deborah also co-edited Between Worlds: An Anthology of Contemporary Fiction and Criticism  (Peter Lang) and is working on finding a home for her first full-length novel. Her work has appeared in journals like Denver Quarterly , Court Green , Loose Change , Colorado Review, and Jacket2 , and in anthologies such as Not Somewhere Else But Here: A Contemporary Anthology of Women & Place and In/Filtration: An Anthology of Innovative Poetry from the Hudson River Valley . Her visual works-including video poems and handmade book objects-have been exhibited at Pace University (New York City), Casper College (Wyoming), Center for Book Arts (New York City), University of Arizona Poetry Center (Tucson), University of Pennsylvania Kelly Writers House at Brodsky Gallery (Philadelphia), and ONN/OF "a light festival" (Seattle), as well as online with Peep/Show , Trickhouse , and The Volta .

Associate professor of English at Pace University, Pleasantville, Deborah directs the creative writing program and founded and curates the annual Handmade/Homemade Exhibit. She has also taught at Western Washington University, Binghamton University, SUNY, the Port Townsend Writer's Workshop in Washington, and Casa Libre en La Solana in Tucson.

Poetry continues to evolve in exciting ways, including translation into other mediums such as audio, bookmaking, photography, and video. Deborah's multimedia poetry course offers ways to explore and experiment with the potential of language, images, and sound in poems for different levels of auditory, visual, and kinetic experiences off the page.

Kris Saknussemm

The English Department welcomes Kris Saknussemm to Seattle University in Winter 2016 to teach Genre Fiction (ENGL 3910-03).


Kris Saknussemm graduated with Distinction from Dartmouth College and holds an M.A. from the University of Washington. He is the author of twelve books that have been translated into 22 languages. His first novel, Zanesville, was nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award and has gone on to become a cult favorite in Russia and Poland. His second genre bending book, Private Midnight, became a bestseller in France and Italy, and is now under development option in Hollywood. Last year, his world-produced stage play The Humble Assessment was turned into an independent feature film, for which he wrote the screenplay.

Kris has won many contests and awards, including First Prize in the Boston Review  and River Styx  Short Story Contests, and the 10-Minute Play Competition for the Missouri Review . He has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony, and was the 2012 Gallagher Fellow at the Black Mountain Institute of UNLV.

He is excited to be teaching the Genre course at SU, which he says will help students better understand the powerful storytelling techniques that genre fiction has to offer. "As so-called literary fiction battles ever harder for audience and cultural attention, you can't ignore that genre fiction, across almost every category, is alive and strong. At the same time, many of our most highly regarded literary writers are turning to genre for inspiration. We're going to tap into this energy. There are some great assignments and special guest visitors lined up. I'm stoked for a very charged quarter."