Sasha Pimentel, PhD
Department of Creative Writing
UT El Paso
Teaching poetry has given me everything that I treasure in my professional and artistic life: my students and colleagues are my community, and there's no other work in the world I love more than writing poetry and teaching the writing of poetry.
Because my students enter my classroom wanting to become published literary writers, I challenge them to work in the craft with me, asking students to immerse themselves in a relationship with literature (both in its reading and in its production) that is intimate and immediate. We study how to turn their experiences into imagery, how to stitch their language into rhythms that evoke emotion, how to uncover the treasure of each of their own stories, and how to find the form of what they are trying to say. Language has the ability to move, to make a person feel that which is beyond oneself, and it is our students' language(s) that deserve to become American literature—which, for the clarity of their voices, can change the discourse of literature itself.