2014 Conference on Poetry & Teaching Director: Dawn Potter

Dawn Potter

Dawn Potter is the author of three collections of poetry—most recently, Same Old Story (CavanKerry Press, 2014). Her memoir, Tracing Paradise: Two Years in Harmony with John Milton (University of Massachusetts Press, 2009), won the 2010 Maine Literary Award in Nonfiction. Her other books include an anthology, A Poet’s Sourcebook: Writings about Poetry, from the Ancient World to the Present (Autumn House Press, 2013) and The Conversation: Learning to Be a Poet (Autumn House Press, 2014).

Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, she has received grants and fellowships from the Elizabeth George Foundation, the Writer’s Center, and the Maine Arts Commission. Her poems and essays appear in the Sewanee Review, the Threepenny Review, Prairie Schooner, and many other journals in the United States and abroad.

Dawn works extensively as a visiting writer in the schools and as a freelance editor for literary and academic presses. In addition to writing, she sings and plays fiddle with the acoustic band String Field Theory. She lives in Harmony, Maine.

Read a poem by Dawn here.

Teaching Statement:  What do I love most about teaching? I love the conversation. In a notebook entry, Frost once commented, “‘There you are—you’ve said it’ is the most influencing thing you can say to a person. Or I know exactly—you get it just as I have felt it.” By means of this simple interchange, the speakers share, in Frost’s words, “fellow feeling and common experience.” At this instant, they are no longer engaged in instruction or chat, in argument or even discussion. They are participating as equals in a conversation that has crystallized around a suddenly shared perception. I’m sure that you, too, have been transported by a rare conversational moment when intellect and emotion and attentiveness synthesize into a “fellow feeling” of not only exquisite understanding but also exponential possibility. The conversers may be parent and child or student and teacher; they may be colleagues or lovers or accidental travel companions; they may be reader and poet, painter and viewer. They may be any two human beings in any time or place. What is necessary is the sense, whether actual or inferred, that one converser has articulated some vital working of mind or heart and that the other converser has heard and acknowledged a shared, intense comprehension.

Poetry Reading: June 25, 7:30 PM at The Frost Place


Date: February 04, 2013