Faculty and Panelist Biographies
The distinguished participants in this summer's conference are all active and successful novelists, poets, screenwriters, critics, scholars, or publishing professionals. In addition to our graduate program faculty, other speakers and presenters join us from all over the country. This page includes all presenter biographies. Biographies of Workshop and Critical Seminar leaders and of participants in the Poetry Symposium can also be found on the pages with the descriptions of those programs.WordFire Press.’s five books include The Trials of Edgar Poe and Other Poems, awarded the Poets’ Prize and the Donald Justice Prize; Lives of the Sleepers, winner of the Ernest Sandeen Prize and a ForeWord Book of the Year gold medal; and Upcycling Paumanok (Measure Press, 2016). 3 Nights of the Perseids, selected by Erica Dawson for the 2018 Richard Wilbur Award, is forthcoming. His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Ecotone, Iowa Review, New Criterion, Poetry Daily, American Life in Poetry, and elsewhere, and in anthologies such as the Everyman’s Library volumes Villanelles and Monster Verse. He was a 2017 NEA translation fellow for his version of Paul Valéry’s “La Jeune Parque” (“The Young Fate”), from which a selection, with accompanying essay, appeared in The Hopkins Review. His prose includes reviews in most issues of Antioch Review from 1999-2009; flash fictions in Waccamaw, Gargoyle, and Pleiades; “Walt Whitman’s Finches,” awarded Crab Orchard Review’s John Guyon Literary Nonfiction Prize; and “My Father’s Music,” an essay on ethnicity and adoptive identity included in Our Roots Are Deep with Passion: Creative Nonfiction collects new essays by Italian-American Writers (Other Press). He was recently a visiting faculty member in Iowa State University’s MFA program in creative writing and environment. The recipient of three Maryland Arts Council poetry grants and residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, he received his MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and an MA from Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins.
For eight years, Michael Brody has directed, with his wife Jennifer, the Crested Butte Film Festival, a four day celebration of narrative and documentary film. In that time, total attendance has jumped a remarkable 147%. The festival is known for its challenging, provocative and international selections and has become a favorite of many filmmakers. Before that, he graduated from the University of Colorado with a B.A. in Creative Writing, Filmmaking, and Philosophy. His first screenplay The Sun King was optioned by Hollywood producer Jeff Mackler. In 2010, he wrote, directed and produced the low-budget feature film, Document. In 2012 he was hired to adapt the novel Created Equal for the screen. Most recently, he was invited to submit his TV pilot Sanctuary to Sundance's esteemed Episodic Story Lab, and is now working on another adaptation.
Brian Calvert is the Managing Editor of High Country News, the nation's leading source of reporting on the American west. A fourth-generation Wyoming native, he grew up in Pinedale and graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in 1994 with a BA in English liberal arts and minors in writing and media studies. He has worked as a foreign correspondent, writer, audio journalist, and most recently, a Ted Scripps Fellow in Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado. After extensive time in Cambodia, China and Afghanistan, Brian has a new appreciation for the West and is thrilled to be back. When he's not working, you can find him outside, trying to regain his mountain hardiness. He is also earning an MFA in Poetry at Western.
is a 25-year entertainment industry veteran and creative writing specialist. While in Los Angeles, she was a screenwriter, independent film producer, and story consultant and development executive for HBO, Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, New Lines Cinema, and 20th Century Fox. Trai currently teaches creative writing, screenwriting, and producing for Colorado colleges, writers groups, conferences, and one-on-one as a development and story editor. She is the screenwriter for Secret Ellington and Cheap Cabernet, two Colorado-based films, and the co-founder of film incubator the Colorado Smart Film Investment Coalition. is a poet who teaches philosophy and poetry at Pennsylvania State University, and has been an advisory editor for the Hudson Review for over thirty years. The Stars of Earth: New and Selected Poems will be published in 2017 by Word Galaxy / Able Muse Press, with drawings by Farhad Ostovani. Her most recent book of poetry, Childhood, published by Accents Publishing with drawings by Parisian artist Lucy Vines, has raised over $2500 in the past year for UNICEF from sales of the book. A Japanese translation by Atsuko Hayakawa (Tsuda College) with illustrations by Chihiro Iwasaki was published in 2015, and an Italian translation by Sara Amadori (University of Bologna / Forli) was published in 2016, along with a CD Childhood Songs by composer Mirco De Stefani. A French translation by Pascale Drouet (University of Poitier) is underway. During the past year, her poems have appeared in the San Diego Reader, the Hudson Review, PN Review and Think Journal, including two elegies for Maxine Kumin, and poems about the Gunnison Valley Observatory, Escondido, Rome, and the ferryboat from Helsinki to Tallinn. Her new philosophy book Starry Reckoning: Reference and Analysis in Mathematics and Cosmology is just out from Springer. Next year, Springer will publish her book on poetry and mathematics, Great Circles: The Transits of Mathematics and Poetry. Her translation of the late Yves Bonnefoy's essay "Yeats' Poetics" is featured the Autumn 2016 issue of the Hudson Review, and will be included in a Carcanet edition of the poet's works due out next year. graduated from Western, Summa Cum Laude, in English, with a Minor in French, in 1992. He holds an MA in Classics from the University of Colorado and a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of California at Berkeley. He has more than a decade of college teaching experience, including teaching in a number of departments at Western. He has translated Homer, has a number of article publications and has given scholarly talks at major venues. His languages include French, Greek and Latin.
Darrin Pratt is Director of the University Press of Colorado, a position he has held since 2000, and just finished a term as President of the Association of American University Presses (2016-2017). During his tenure at Colorado, he has been responsible for reshaping the editorial program and improving its profile, strengthening the balance sheet substantially, and merging University Press of Colorado and Utah State University Press to create greater scale for both imprints and provide a innovate blueprint for university press collaboration. From 2009 to 2011, he served as the Principal Investigator on the Andrew W. Mellon-funded Archaeology of the Americas Digital Monograph Initiative, a joint project of the University of Alabama Press, the University of Arizona Press, University Press of Colorado, the University Press of Florida, Texas A&M University Press, and the University of Utah Press. Together these six presses explored the possibilities for publishing scholarly monographs enhanced with multimedia and rich data sets. The result was a partnership with the University of Toronto Press that ultimately led to the creation of their P-Shift editorial and production workflow. Prior to becoming Director, Darrin was the Assistant Director and Sales & Marketing Managerat University Press of Colorado, and he has also held editorial, marketing, and sales positions at Ohio State University Press, Indiana University Press, and Columbia University Press. Darrin has a Master’s in English Literature from Indiana University, and he obtained his undergraduate degree from Kenyon College in his home state of Ohio.If you are a fan of animated comedy, chances are you have laughed at a joke written by Mike Reiss, this year's Screenwriting Keynote Speaker and a four-time Emmy award-winning producer, a 28-year veteran of The Simpsons and a contributor to more than two dozen animated films, including four Ice Age movies, two Despicable Me movies, The Lorax, Rio, Kung Fu Panda 3, and The Simpsons Movie, with a worldwide gross of $8 billion. He was the showrunner behind season four of The Simpsons, which Entertainment Weekly has called "the greatest season of the greatest show in history." Mike has also written seventeen children’s books, including the best-seller How Murray Saved Christmas and the award-winning Late for School. writes nonfiction and fiction for adults and kids. Her nonfiction has appeared in Better Homes and Gardens, Mountain Flyer, Velo News, and The Writers Chronicle. Her fiction has won or been a finalist for many awards, including the Danahy Fiction Prize, the Writer’s Digest Contest, the Pushcart Prize, and the Flannery O’Connor Award. She has published two young adult novels: The View from Who I Was (Flux 2015) and Life at the Speed of Us (Flux 2016), which was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award and the Housatonic Award for Writing for Middle Grades and Young Adults. She was honored to be invited to the anchoring local author panel for this year's Colorado Teen Lit Con. She earned her MFA from Pacific University. Heather loves mountains, so she lives in a log home in Vail, Colorado, where she teaches narrative workshops at Colorado Mountain College and at a charter school for future Olympic skiers and snowboarders. If you visit Vail, you might find her skiing or pedaling along its backcountry trails. You can find out more about her at heathersappenfield.com. is the author of four books of poetry: Apocalypse Mix, selected by David St. John for the 2016 Autumn House Poetry Prize; Her Familiars, a finalist for the Julie Suk Award for best poetry book on an independent press; Assignation at Vanishing Point, winner of the Elixir Press Book Award; and Shepherdess with an Automatic, awarded the Towson University Prize. Her book of interconnected essays, Daughters of Empire: A Memoir of a Year in Britain and Beyond, appeared on Demeter Press, and she is the co-editor, with Laurie Kruk, of the recent multi-genre anthology Borderlands and Crossroads: Writing the Motherland (also on Demeter). Her honors include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in poetry and three Maryland Arts Council poetry grants, as well as residencies in poetry or nonfiction from the Vermont Studio Center and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Among other awards are the William Faulkner Society's Gold Medal for the Essay, the Florida Review Editors’ Prize, the Mslexia women’s poetry prize, and the Bellingham Review’s 49th Parallel Poetry Prize. Satterfield’s poetry and prose have appeared in American Poetry Review, Antioch Review, The Common, Crazyhorse, North American Review, Notre Dame Review, Pleiades, and many more, as well as on Verse Daily and Poetry Daily. The daughter of an American Air Force reservist and a British mother, she grew up near Andrews Air Force Base in suburban Maryland. She received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, teaches at Loyola University Maryland, and lives in Baltimore. teaches the second summer intensive for poetry students, "Performance Skills for Poets," in Western's Graduate Program in Creative Writing. He holds an undergraduate degree in English from Harvard and an MFA in Acting from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His stage performances have been hailed by the New York Times and other newspapers across the country, and he taught acting for two years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His recent film and TV appearances include Begin Again, Mamarosh, The Smurfs, The Blacklist, The Mysteries of Laura, The Good Fight, and HBO’s Divorce. He is also an accomplished voiceover artist and audiobook narrator. He also has over twenty years of corporate sphere experience in training, facilitating, coaching, and public speaking.Poet and critic Robert B. Shaw earned a BA from Harvard University, where he studied with Robert Lowell and Robert Fitzgerald, and a PhD from Yale University. Influenced by Elizabeth Bishop and Philip Larkin, Shaw’s wry and plainspoken formal verse is often grounded in, or sprung from, the debris of daily life. He is the author of seven collections of poetry, including A Late Spring, and After (2016), Aromatics (2011; co-winner of The Poets' Prize), and Solving For X (2002), which won the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize. His criticism appears widely in such places as the New York Times Book Review, and he has also published a critical study of poets John Donne and George Herbert, The Call of God: The Theme of Vocation in the Poetry of Donne and Herbert (1981). He is also the author of Blank Verse: A Guide to Its History and Use, the first book-length treatment of its subject since 1895, which appeared in 2007, and received the Robert Fitzgerald Award. Shaw has received Shenandoah’s James Boatwright III Prize for Poetry as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ingram Merrill Foundation. From 1983 to 2016, Shaw taught at Mount Holyoke College, and is now the Emily Dickinson Professor of English., founder of Western’s Graduate Program in Creative Writing, has been a Professor of English at Western since 1988. He currently teaches in the undergraduate creative writing program, and serves as Editor-in-Chief for Western Press Books. He has 25 years of professional journalism experience, having published hundreds of news stories, features, columns, and editorials in local through international markets. He also served as editor and publisher of both a newspaper and a regional magazine and, at one point, digested online news for the Lycos daily news service. Mark has performed his poetry and given fiction readings across the country and in Europe. His books include two collections of poetry, Wire Song (Conundrum, 2001) and Tamped, But Loose Enough to Breathe (Ghost Road, 2008). He is author of the science fiction novel Strange Attractors (Write in the Thick, 2012) and co-author with wife Kym O’Connell-Todd of the paranormal comedy/fantasy trilogy The Silverville Saga: The Silverville Swindle (Ghost Road, 2006), which was reissued as Little Greed Men (Raspberry Creek, 2011); All Plucked Up (Raspberry Creek, 2012); and The Magicke Outhouse (Raspberry Creek, 2013). All were nominated for Colorado Book Awards and Little Greed Men was also nominated for the Colorado Blue Spruce Award. Their latest book is Wild West Ghosts (Raspberry Creek, 2015), a creative nonfiction book about hauntings in frontier mining towns of the Rocky Mountains.Poet, critic, and editor D.H. Tracy earned an MFA at Boston University. In his formally engaged poems, often infused with sly humor, he explores themes of intimacy, perception, and loss. His debut poetry collection, Janet’s Cottage (2012), won a New Criterion Poetry Prize, and his work is featured in The Hecht Prize Anthology 2005–2009 (2011, edited by Joseph Harrison). In a 2013 interview with Garrick Davis for the Contemporary Poetry Review, Tracy states, “The poet-critic’s role is, minimally, to write as well as possible—in the case of criticism, to hit that very tricky, almost Aristotelian mean, flexibility without floppiness, rigor without rigidity. In the literary culture I might wish for, everyone would have this sense that the two activities were artificially distinct, and poets would be more invested in criticism than they are.” Later in the same interview, he notes, “If [criticism] resembles a science, it is geology, not physics: ‘laws’ don’t get you very far, and with each new piece of ground, if you are not going to be very cavalier, you have to invest a certain amount in new taxonomies and in characterizing local phenomena. Past experience may apply, or not.” In 2010, he helped found the independent literary press and nonprofit Antilever Press, which publishes both poetry and criticism. In the mid-2000s, Tracy served as archive editor for the Poetry Foundation website.Frederick Turner is Founders Professor of Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas. He has held academic positions at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Kenyon College (where he was editor of The Kenyon Review), and the University of Exeter in England. Among his many books are Natural Classicism: Essays on Literature and Science, Shakespeare and the Nature of Time, Paradise (poetry) and Genesis: An Epic Poem.