Visiting Writers

Theo Nestor

Theo Nestor, Visiting Writer for Winter 2018

The English Department welcomes Theo Nestor to Seattle University in Winter 2018 to teach Writing the Self (ENGL 3910-03).

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. 

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.


Anastacia Tolbert

Anastacia Tolbert, Visiting Writer for Spring 2018The English Department welcomes Anastacia Tolbert to Seattle University in Spring 2018 to teach Poetry and Activism (ENGL 3910-03).

Anastacia Renee Tolbert is a queer writer of color, performance artist, creative writing workshop facilitator and activist. She is the current Civic Poet of Seattle and former 2015-2017 Poet-in-Residence at Richard Hugo House.  She has received writing fellowships from Cave Canem, Hedgebrook, VONA, Artist Trust and Jack Straw, as well as a writing residency from Ragdale.  Her theatrical mixed-media project, 9 Ounces: A One Woman Show, is a multivalent play unapologetically downward dogging its way through class, race, culture, oppression, depression, survival and epiphany. Anastacia-Renee is the Author of Forget It (Black Radish Books), (v.), (Gramma Press) 26, (Dancing Girl Press), Kiss Me Doll Face (Gramma Press) and, Answer(Me) (Winged City Chapbooks, Argus Press). Her work has appeared in: Revise the Psalm, Work Celebrating the Writing of Gwendolyn Brooks, Split this Rock, Painted Bride Quarterly, Crab Creek Review, Seattle Review, Bone Bouquet, Duende, Synaethesia, Torch, Banqueted and her poetry, fiction and nonfiction has been published widely. 

What occurs when poetry seeks to become a literary ally for activism? Poems that challenge, question, ignite and provoke change.

We will look at the ways we can use creative language, imagery and structure as a conduit for social justice discourse on the page. We will work through writing prompts and generate five poems, specifically focusing on the following structures: The Bop, Persona, Cento, Haibun and Epistle. We will view “structured poems,” not as a fence around creative writing but as a bridge to more concise writing, which seeks to harvest expansive details, and tackle courageous and timely topics frame by frame as opposed to an overall big picture. We’ll use contemporary poets (and a dead poet too) as a compass and put into practice our knowledge of The Bop, Persona, Cento, Haibun and the Epistle. We will use these poetic structures to write social justice poems, which will serve as a poetic response to questions contemporary poetry activist present to their readers. The class will culminate with a poetry reading and workshop-encouraging student driven feedback.