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 refugee father. I grew up in Lakeland, Florida, the third eldest in a family of twelve children.
I hold a BA in English from Florida State University, MA in English Literature from University of California, Irvine, MLS from Indiana University, and an Ed.D. from the University of Delaware.
I spent most of my twenties abroad in Morocco and Portugal, where I worked at The American School of Tangier and the American Language Institute in Lisbon. My daughters Savannah and Bahiya were born in Tangier and Lisbon. They were four and one year old when we returned to the United States. I also have two sons, Adrian and Julian, born in Kentucky and Delaware.
I have taught literature and composition as a lecturer at the University of South Florida, Kentucky Wesleyan College and the University of Delaware. From 1990 to 2001, I worked as a middle and high school librarian and teacher trainer in technology. In addition to teaching, I wrote grants to bring artists, poets and new media to my students in Delaware and Pennsylvania public schools.
In 2008, I earned a doctorate in Education by completing a study on myths about Internet plagiarism. I interviewed students in four regional high schools and sleuthed their papers. The study is mostly about how we teach high school students to write, with surprising findings. I presented my work at the 2009 National Educational Computing Conference (NECC-ISTE) in Washington, DC.
I served as Delaware’s poet laureate from May 2008 to December 2015, bringing poetry to classrooms, libraries and community centers across the state, advocating for arts-in-education and coordinating retreats, conferences, readings and workshops for writers.
I continue to work in partnership with the Delaware Division of the Arts as State Coordinator of Poetry Out Loud and to teach creative writing to children and adults at community centers and libraries. (Want to be a volunteer juror for Delaware Poetry Out Loud, or for Delaware Scholastic Writing Awards? Support creative kids? Please contact me!)
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 Best New Poets, DIAGRAM, Rhino, MiPoesias, Poemeleon, Smartish Pace, Salt Hill and Verse Daily, as well as The Crafty Poet: A Portable Anthology and Voices of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Experience.
I continue to believe that eco-poetry is vital to keep people aware of the challenged health of our planet and climate change. 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.