Western hires new Director of Poetry Concentration for Graduate Program in Creative Writing

Aaron Abeyta stares into the camera for a headshot.

Western hires new Director of Poetry Concentration for Graduate Program in Creative Writing

Courtesy of Tyson Hausdoerffer
Photo by Apr 12, 2019

Western Colorado University’s School of Graduate Studies is proud to announce Aaron A. Abeyta as the new director of the Poetry concentration in the Graduate Program in Creative Writing.

Abeyta is a Colorado native who received his B.A. in English and his MFA in Poetry from Colorado State University. He also is the mayor of Antonito, Colorado, his hometown. 

Abeyta has written four poetry collections and one novel. For his book “Colcha,” Abeyta received both the prestigious American Book Award and the Colorado Book Award.  In addition, his novel “Rise, Do Not be Afraid,” was a finalist for the 2007 Colorado Book Award and El Premio Aztlán. Abeyta was awarded a Colorado Council on the Arts Fellowship for poetry, and he is the former Poet Laureate of Colorado’s Western Slope, as named by the Karen Chamberlain Poetry Festival.

Abeyta is also a recipient of a Governor’s Creative Leadership Award for 2017. Aaron has over 100 publications including in “An Introduction to Poetry, 10th ed.;” “Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, & Drama, 8th ed.;” “Conversations in American Literature: Language, Rhetoric, & Culture;” and essays in The Leopold Outlook; Colorado Central Magazine; The High Country News; and numerous other journals. 

 “We are incredibly honored and excited to bring a poet of Aaron Abeyta’s stature and vision onto the faculty of the Graduate Program in Creative Writing. With his lyrical gifts, his deep sense of place and his commitment to giving voice to the experiences of the voiceless and the marginalized, Aaron will be able to completely revitalize and transform our Poetry program,” said Tyson Hausdoerffer, Interim Director of the Graduate Program of Creative Writing.

“Aaron has a special gift for connecting with students from all backgrounds and for helping them uncover and cultivate their expressive talents,” Hausdoerffer said. “With Aaron at the helm of the Poetry program, we expect to expand and diversify our cohorts. And, since Aaron’s poetic vision is so unique and so powerful, we are confident that Western’s Poetry program will soon be regarded as the best, most cutting-edge MFA program in the West.”