Poet, Writer, Teacher

A former college professor with an MFA in Creative Writing, Ken Waldman has published eight full-length poetry collections and a memoir from respected independent small presses.

More than four hundred of Ken's poems have appeared in such publications as Beloit Poetry Journal, Manoa, Puerto del Sol, Quarterly West, South Dakota Review, and Yankee. His short stories have appeared in Gargoyle, Laurel Review, The MacGuffin, and almost a dozen other journals. Both his poetry and fiction have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes. In addition, Ken is actively shopping four new poetry collections, a second memoir, a novel, and a short story collection. For almost thirty years now he has stayed active in the field as a writer, teacher, and reader. Since 1995 he's attended every AWP conference, but one.

In graduate school, Ken not only taught composition and developmental classes as a teaching assistant, but led workshops at the local correctional center. Afterward, Ken taught full-time in the University of Alaska system for three years, first as a visiting assistant professor in Sitka, then two years as an assistant professor in Nome, Alaska, on the Bering Sea coast, where he taught over the telephone. Ken considers himself of “the William Stafford school,” which, for him, has always meant that he has striven to be inclusive rather than exclusive as a writer and teacher.

As a writer—and as a poet—that's meant being open to wherever a piece of writing may take him.

As a teacher, that's meant being open to all kinds of students and sharing what may take them to the next stage of their development, which necessarily varies by student. He emphasizes, too, as serious as the writing process and teaching process may be, there better be room for fun. Aside from his work in colleges and universities and at schools, he's led writing workshops in communities throughout Alaska, as well as in more than a dozen other states. To read about a workshop and reading sponsored by Poets & Writers, go here.

In addition to the published books and the completed manuscripts, he's kept busy with projects. One additional manuscript he's shopping, The Writing Party, is a just-completed hybrid work that's part memoir, part writing manual. Since beginning teaching writing in 1985, Ken has developed a number of unusual and effective writing exercises. Workshops attendees have asked if he's collected them in a book. He has finally gotten around to it, and used the descriptions of the writing exercises as a trigger to also write about his experiences as a writer and writing teacher.

Here's what others say about Ken's writing and teaching. You can read a few of his poems here (and watch him read others). Vita? Right here.