Faculty, MFA in Creative Writing
Residency Site: Plainfield VT
Rachel Pollack is considered one of the World’s foremost authorities on the modern interpretation of the Tarot. She is also a poet, an award-winning novelist, and a Tarot card and comic book artist. She has published 12 books on the Tarot, including 78 Degrees of Wisdom (Thorsons, 1998), considered a modern classic and the Bible of Tarot reading. Its marriage of common sense, wide-ranging knowledge, and esoteric awareness have inspired many tens of thousands of readers worldwide to a deeper knowledge of the Tarot. Rachel is a member of the American Tarot Association, the International Tarot Society, and the Tarot Guild of Australia. With fellow Tarot author Mary Greer, she has taught at the famed Omega Institute for the past fifteen years. She has been conferred the title of Tarot Grand Master by the Tarot Certification Board, an independent body located in Las Vegas, Nevada. As a fiction writer, Pollack has been bestowed many honors and awards, among them the famed Arthur C. Clarke Award for Science Fiction (for Unquenchable Fire) and the World Fantasy Award (for Godmother Night). She is a recommended member of PEN International, and has written for numerous publications.
MA, English Literature, Claremont Graduate School
BA (w/ Honors), English Literature, New York University
My work has been in my writing, with teaching as an outgrowth of my writing concerns. I have written twenty-five books of both fiction and non-fiction. I would characterize most of my fiction, which includes six novels and a collection of short stories, as literary fantasy. Unquenchable Fire won the Arthur C. Clarke Award in Britain, while Godmother Night won the World Fantasy Award. Though my non-fiction books have included work on such areas as Stone Age religion (The Body of the Goddess), most of my non-fiction has centered on the symbolic interpretation of Tarot cards, a subject much bigger than the popular image of fortune-telling. As well as creating my own deck, with images inspired by prehistoric art, I have written general books and books on specific decks, such as Salvador Dali’s Tarot. What unites my fiction and non-fiction is the exploration of imagination as the ground of creation. My books have appeared all over the world, in nine languages. My earliest teaching was writing and literature at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. Since then, however, I have taught many workshops on Tarot in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, as well as occasional writing seminars, including a two year class on myth and creative imagery in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
My approach to writing begins with each student’s goals. Against the familiar dictum to “write what you know best,” I advise people to write what they care about most deeply. From this beginning point I work closely with each person to strip away whatever is sloppy, received wisdom, lazy, or a disguise of what the writer really needs to say. I encourage writers to think through what they are doing, to write passionately but question themselves in revision, and to get to the core of their own style and make it work for them.
- The New Tarot Handbook: Master the Meanings of the CardsLlewellyn Publications2012
- Soul Forest: 24 Tarot WritingsTarot Media Company2011
- Seeker: The Tarot UnveiledLlewellyn Publications2005
- The Kabbalah Tree: A Journey of Balance & GrowthLlewellyn Publications2004
- The Forest of Souls: A Walk in the Tarot Llewellyn Publications2002
- A Secret Woman: A MysteryMinotaur Books2002
- The Shining Tribe Tarot, Renewed and ExpandedLlewellyn Publications 2001
- The Power of Ritual (Omega Institute Mind, Body, Spirit Series)Dell2000
- 78 Degrees Of Wisdom Thorstons1998
- Burning Sky: StoriesCambrian Publications1998