Faculty, MFA in Creative Writing Program
Residency Site: Plainfield VT / Residency Site: Port Townsend WA
Beatrix Gates has published four poetry collections, including Dos and the Lambda poetry finalist, In the Open. Awarded an Alan Jutzi fellowship for Non-traditional Scholars at the Huntington Library in 2018, she has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony, Ucross Foundation and Artist-in-Residence at Canada’s QUEST Univesity. She shared a Witter Bynner Award with Electa Arenal for translating Jesús Aguado’s The Poems of Vikram Babu (HOST), and a translation of her poetry in Arabic appears on the Iraqi literature site: www.alnaked-aliraqi.net/article/27446.php. Her poems & translations have appeared in The Beloit Poetry Journal, Sirena and The Kenyon Review; hybrid work has come out in MAP magazine, www.mapmagazine.co.uk; prose in Alchemy of the Word: Writers Talk about Writing, and an essay on the poet Jane Cooper is forthcoming from the University of Michigan Series. She conceived and wrote the libretto for “The Singing Bridge,” music by Anna Dembska, and received NEA, LEF and Davis Foundation support for the opera’s premiere at Maine’s Stonington Opera House. A long-time MFAW faculty member, she has taught writing and literature at Colby College, NYU, CCNY, Maine Maritime Academy and in a women’s prison. As founder and proprietor of Granite Press (1975-1989), she served as editor, designer and printer. She produced the chapbook Shooting at Night with Maine Arts Commission support and entered trade publishing with Grace Paley’s first book of poetry, Leaning Forward. Editor of The Wild Good: Lesbian Photographs & Writings on Love (Anchor), she curated A Different Light’s Poetry Series at NYC’s LGBTQ bookstore mixing emerging and more well-known poets and creating special events around poets lost to the community, given the toll of cancer and the AIDS Epidemic. In recent time, she has initiated SIDELINES/ In Translation for The Cannery at South Penobscot (www.cannerysouthpenobscot.org) where she serves on the Board. She lives in Down East Maine and loves NYC.
MFA in Poetry, Sarah Lawrence College
BA in Literature, Antioch College
Areas of Expertise
- Creative Nonfiction
- Cross-Genre / Hybrid
As a teacher, I look to discern where a writer is going, and then guide them towards the best form to carry the story–whether poetry, fiction, hybrid or non-fiction. Once I have a good sense of the core ambitions and sensibility of the student, I rely on a range of literature that will point the way, shake them into a different perspective or let them know that they’re on the right track. Reading is the best teacher and learning not to be afraid to try out methods used by others expands the writer’s vocabulary and pushes their vision of content. The point is to inspire confidence in the search for the right form, and teach patience and love of the unknown. Trying on different genres or revising through exercises that range outside the expected narrative can offer unexpected and deepened results. I often ask writers of non-fiction to read poetry and dramatic monologues to bring an appreciation of tone and the impact of imagery, or fast characterization through speech. Having poets try on dialogue or explore juxtaposing sections within a long poem also expands the conversation between narrative and lyric. Rewriting is essential to making a manuscript and developing a relationship to the rewriting process may be the most valuable thing that can be learned. It’s important to allow in doubt and mystery and not be afraid to make mistakes and take leaps. The writing will change in the process of writing and there will be time to pare it down or expand, but the discovery of material and the form to carry it is a wild and exhilarating experience.