Like those fishermen down there casting flies that tap the sun-glassed water. / Their lines float out flimsy as spider silk, they sail, what a wayward way back.Comfort, Cape Henlopen
I was born in Columbus, Ohio to a German American mother and Filipino immigrant father. I grew up in Lakeland, Florida, the third eldest in a family of twelve children.
I studied English at Florida State University and the University of California, Irvine; earned an MLS from Indiana University, and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Delaware.
During my twenties I lived in Morocco and Portugal, teaching at The American School of Tangier and the American Language Institute in Lisbon. My daughters Savannah and Bahiya were born in Tangier and Lisbon. When they were four and one year old, we returned to the United States. My sons Adrian and Julian were born in western Kentucky and in Delaware.
I’ve taught literature and college composition, worked as a middle and high school librarian, and trained teachers in new technologies. In 2008, I earned a doctorate in Education by completing a study on myths about Internet plagiarism and presented the findings nationally. I served as Delaware’s poet laureate from May 2008 to December 2015, teaching poetry workshops in classrooms, libraries and community centers across the state, advocating for arts-in-education, and coordinating retreats, conferences, readings and workshops for Delaware’s writers and lovers of poetry.
I am Assistant Editor for YesYes Books, an independent poetry publisher out of Portland, Oregon; a board member-at-large for the Delaware Literary Connection, which organizes the monthly Second Saturday reading series in Wilmington; and an editor for The Delaware Poetry Review.
Previous works include Your Heart and How It Works (Spire Press, 2009), winner of the 2010 Global Filipino Literary Award; and Forage, (Wings Press, 2011), winner of the Whitebird Chapbook Prize. Poems and essays have appeared in journals and anthologies such as The Rumpus, Best New Poets, DIAGRAM, Rhino, MiPoesias, Poemeleon, Smartish Pace, Salt Hill, Vallum and Verse Daily, as well as The Crafty Poet: A Portable Anthology, and More Challenges for the Delusional. I wrote “Brandywine Creek Preambles” for Imagine Our Parks, a project of the Academy of American Poets for the National Park Service’s 2016 centennial celebration.
In an interview at Connotation Press I talk about my poetry and inspiration.
Recent honors include a 2017 VONA Residency in Prose with David Mura, and a 2016 Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation Creative Fellowship for a two-week residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. I am the recipient of a 2014 Bread Loaf Bakeless Camargo Foundation Fellowship in fiction and the 2015 Westmoreland Poetry Award. “Limón Homage” was a finalist for RHINO POETRY’s 2016 Founder’s Prize.