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Poetry in the Woods

Learn more about the faculty below.

PITW Faculty 2023.

Meet the Faculty
Before the Workshop

Devin Johnston Poetry in the Woods Faculty

Devin Johnston

Devin Johnston is the author of seven books of poetry including Dragons, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2023. He has also published Creaturely and Other Essays, meditations on the natural world. He works as an editor of Flood Editions, a nonprofit publishing house, and he teaches at Saint Louis University in Missouri.

Naomi Shihab Nye Poetry in the Woods Faculty

Naomi Shihab Nye

Naomi Shihab Nye is Chancellor Emeritus for the Academy of American Poets. She is the 2019 Lon Tinkle Lifetime Achievement Award Winner from the Texas Institute of Letters, and she has received a Lannan Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress, and four Pushcart Prizes.  She is the 2019 - 2021 Young People's Poet Laureate. Her collection 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East was a finalist for the National Book Award, and her collection Honeybee was awarded the Arab-American Book Award.  Naomi Shihab Nye has edited eight honored and popular poetry anthologies, including Time You Let Me In, What Have You Lost?, Salting the Ocean, and This Same Sky, and she is the author of the novels Habibi and Going, Going, and The Turtle of Oman.  She lives with her family in San Antonio, Texas and is on faculty at Texas State University.

James Crews Poetry in the Woods Faculty

James Crews

James Crews is the author of the essay collection, Kindness Will Save the World, and editor of several bestselling poetry anthologies: Healing the Divide, The Path to Kindness, and How to Love the World. He has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, and in People Magazine, The Boston Globe, and The Washington Post. He is also the author of four prize-winning books of poetry, and his poems have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, and other journals. James lives with his husband on forty rocky acres in the woods of Southern Vermont.

Travis Mossotti Poetry in the Woods Faculty

Travis Mossotti

Travis Mossotti currently serves as a Biodiversity Fellow in the Living Earth Collaborative at Washington University. His previous collections are About the Dead, Field Study, Narcissus Americana, and Racecar Jesus, and his fifth collection, Apocryphal Genesis, is forthcoming with Saturnalia Books in 2024. He’s been the recipient of the Miller Williams Poetry Prize, the May Swenson Book Award, the Christopher Smart – Joan Alice Poetry Prize, the Alma Book Award, and others. Mossotti lives and works in St. Louis.

Andrea Scarpino Poetry in the Woods Faculty

Andrea Scarpino

Andrea Scarpino has published the poetry collections Once Upon Wing Lake, What the Willow Said as it Fell, and Once, Then, and the co-edited anthology Undocumented: Great Lakes Poets Laureate on Social Justice. She received a PhD in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University, and an MFA from The Ohio State University. She is also co-editor of Nine Mile Magazine and served as Poet Laureate of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula 2015-2017. She teaches at St Louis University High School. 

PITW Faculty Observers 2023.

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Amie Whittemore

Amie Whittemore (she/her) is the author of the poetry collections Glass Harvest (Autumn House Press), Star-tent: A Triptych (Tolsun Books), and Nest of Matches (Autumn House, 2024). She was the 2020-2021 Poet Laureate of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow. Her poems have won multiple awards, including a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize, and her poems and prose have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Nashville Review, Smartish Pace, Pleiades, and elsewhere. She teaches creative writing at Eastern Illinois University and also serves as director of MTSU Write, a from-home creative writing mentorship program. Learn more at

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Kerry James Evans

Kerry James Evans is the author of Bangalore (Copper Canyon), a Lannan Literary Selection. He earned a PhD in English from Florida State University, an MFA in creative writing from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, and a BA in English from Missouri State University. The recipient of a 2015 NEA Fellowship and a Walter E. Dakin Fellowship from Sewanee Writers' Conference, his poems have appeared in AgniNarrative, New England ReviewPloughshares, and many other journals. He lives in Milledgeville, Georgia, where he teaches in the MFA program at Georgia College & State University and serves as the poetry editor for Arts & Letters.


James Kimbrell

James Kimbrell’s poems have appeared in anthologies including the Best American Poetry and the Pushcart Prize Anthology. The recipient of a Ruth Lilly Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, his most recent collection is Smote (2015, Sarabande Books). He directs the Creative Writing Program at Florida State University.

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Jason Vasser-Elong

Jason Vasser-Elong is assistant teaching professor in the Pierre Laclede Honors College and a doctoral candidate in the College of Education at the University of Missouri – St. Louis, where he earned a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. He is the author of Shrimp (2Leaf Press, 2018), a collection of poetry that analyzes identity in a post-colonial context. In 2022, Jason was poet-in-residence for Sapiens Magazine, an editorially independent anthropology magazine of the Wenner-Gren Foundation & University of Chicago Press, and is the recipient of the University of Missouri South African Education Program Fellowship.

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