Beatrix Gates

Beatrix Gates

Faculty

Faculty

Beatrix Gates has published five poetry collections, including Dos; In the Open, a Lambda poetry finalist; and Ten Minutes. In 2019, Gates’ chapbook, Desire lines, will be published by Artifact Press, with graphics by award-winning poet/book artist Heidi Reiszies, (https://www.artifactpress.com), and upcoming in Bateau, Gates’ poems and more translations of Spanish poet Jesús Aguado (w Electa Arenal). Recently awarded an Alan Jutzi Non-traditional Scholar fellowship at the Huntington Library for research on astronomer Henrietta Swan Leavitt for “Good Seeing: Poem of the Full Sky,” she has been a returning fellow at the MacDowell Colony, Ucross Foundation, VCCA and Artist-in-Residence at Canada’s QUEST University. She shared a Witter Bynner Translation Award with Electa Arenal for Jesús Aguado’s The Poems of Vikram Babu (HOST), and her own poetry in Arabic translation appears on the Iraqi literature site: www.alnaked-aliraqi.net/article/27446.php. Her poems & translations have appeared in The Beloit Poetry Journal, Sirena, Tarpaulin Sky, The Kenyon Review; hybrid work in MAP magazine out of Scotland, www.mapmagazine.co.uk; and her essay, “Jane Cooper: Seventeen Names for Necessity,” appears in the University of Michigan Series, A Radiance of Attention: Jane Cooper (eds, Collins & Bland, 2019). She conceived and wrote the libretto for “The Singing Bridge,” music by Anna Dembska, and they shared 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 CCNY, Colby College, Maine Maritime Academy, NYU, Canada’s QUEST University, and in many community settings. As a founder of Granite Press (1975-1989), she served as editor, designer, and printer. She produced her own letterpress chapbook Shooting at Night and Rosa Lane’s Roots & Reckonings with Maine Arts Commission support and entered trade publishing with Grace Paley’s first book of poetry, Leaning Forward. She closed the press with the seminal bilingual anthology, IXOK AMAR.GO, Central American Women Poets for Peace, ed. Angelsey. Editor of The Wild Good: Lesbian Photographs & Writings on Love (Anchor), she curated A Different Light’s Poetry Series at NYC’s LGBTQ bookstore from 1990-96 with emerging and well-known poets, and special events for poets lost to the community from cancer and the AIDS Epidemic. In recent time, she has initiated SIDELINES/ In Translation Series: collaborations from the world in more than one language for The Cannery at South Penobscot including programming on the Long Poem, Reading & Conversation with award-winning MFAW alum Julia Bouwsma (on MIDDEN) & Beatrix Gates (on Good Seeing: Poem of the Full Sky). Gates serves on the Board of The Cannery (www.cannerysouthpenobscot.org), lives in Down East Maine and loves NYC.

Website: www.beatrixgates.org

Education

MFA in Poetry, Sarah Lawrence College
BA in Literature, Antioch College

Areas of Expertise

  • Fiction
  • Creative Nonfiction
  • Cross-Genre / Hybrid
  • Poetry
  • Libretto

Personal Statement

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.

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