faculty/staff

Karla Kelsey Small Susquepedia image

Karla Kelsey, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Creative Writing


I have always been engaged in artistic pursuit. From the age of 4 until 18, I trained to be a professional ballet dancer. While it sounds a bit dramatic to describe myself, at age 4, as training to be a professional, I am quite serious about that. While I was only just learning in my imagination I was already en pointe in lovely gossamer tutu.

At 18 I left ballet for college. My first year was wonderful because I had never been exposed to the notion of thinking before. However, it was also terrifying because I was so used to having ballet as my lodestone. It didn’t take long for me to find poetry, though, and I started writing in my first year or two in college. After my first poetry workshop I knew that I loved poetry and that I had found a new passion. From that moment on it was poetry to the exclusion of everything else.

While not all of our students see themselves as becoming novelists or published poets, I am constantly impressed and surprised by the dedication students at SU have for their craft. I love working with such committed students. Their love of writing will serve these students well in whatever profession they choose to follow.

This passion helps make the Writers Institute a close-knit community. Teachers and peers engage each other and the work with a wonderful intensity. There are great opportunities for involvement outside of class such as working on our literary journals, joining one of the many informal peer workshop groups, and going to events hosted at the student writers’ house. I tell prospective students “Don’t be shy. Pursue your passion and get involved.”

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