Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing

Diane Seuss


Office Location

Stonecoast MFA Office - 98 Bedford Street, Portland, ME 04102



Academic Degrees

  • MSW, Western Michigan University
  • BA, Creative Writing


Diane Seuss is the author of four books of poetry: Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a GirlFour-Legged Girl, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open, winner of the Juniper Prize; and It Blows You Hollow. She has also published widely in literary magazines, including American Poetry Review, Poetry, Virginia Quarterly Review, and The New Yorker, and she has been the recipient of a Pushcart Prize. She recently completed a fifth manuscript, Frank: Sonnets, a memoir in sonnet form.

Seuss was raised in rural Michigan. She has lived in many places, but circled back to Michigan, where she served as Writer in Residence at Kalamazoo College for several years. At Kalamazoo College, she received the Florence J. Lucasse Award for both teaching (2003) and scholarship (2016). She has been the MacLean Distinguished Professor in the Department of English at Colorado College (2012, 2017, 2018), the Ballen Visiting Scholar at New Mexico Highlands University (2017), the Poet-in-Residence at the Frost Place, at Ohio University, and the University of California, Davis. She has received residencies from Hedgebrook: A Retreat Center for Women Writers, The MacDowell Colony, and Willipa Bay Artists in Residence. Seuss has served as a board member and consultant for Literature for All of Us, which provides “trauma-informed literacy support” via book groups and creative writing workshops in Chicago, and a consultant for Fire Arts Collaborative, a “youth-driven art and justice nonprofit organization” in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She was also a social worker for several years, working in domestic assault, community mental health, and a woman- and queer-centered private practice.

Seuss was raised for most of her childhood by a single mother in Niles and Edwardsburg, Michigan. She is herself a single mother of a son, Dylan. Her people are nurses, teachers, small farmers, veterans, pipefitters, barbers, rural mail carriers, rabble-rousers, and storytellers.

Areas of Scholarship

Contemporary American Poetry, Traditional Form and "Freaking" Form, Writing the Rural, including the Gothic Pastoral, Creative Writing Pedagogy, Poetry and Trauma, Ekphrastic Poetry

Recent Publications

Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl (Graywolf Press, 2018)

Four-Legged Girl (Graywolf Press, 2015)

Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open (University of Massachusetts Press, 2010),

BuzzFeed, “The famous poets came for us,” October 4, 2018

American Poetry Review, Five Poems, May/June 2018

Waxwing, Four Unrhymed Sonnets, Spring 2018

Virginia Quarterly Review, Five Unrhymed Sonnets, Fall 2017

Kenyon Review, Six Sonnets, Winter 2017, “I Heart Appalachian Art: Between Chlamydia and Twang,”

After the Art, September 2018.

Creative Activity

I am in the completed draft stage of a sort of hybrid project--memoir composed of contemporary sonnets. Some are roaring with rhyme and meter, others function like fourteen-line flash nonfiction. Some of them involve New York School-era poet Frank O'Hara as a kind of muse. I also write short essays on the intersection between poetry and visual art, and I'm concocting a talk on the Gothic Pastoral. I'm interested in both writing of and from trauma (both personal and cultural) and writing the rural (without airbrushing and spin doctoring).

Awards and Recognition

Book Prizes: Finalist for Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for Four-Legged Girl, 2016. Juniper Prize for Poetry for Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open, 2009. Literary Magazine Prizes: Quarter After Eight Robert J. DeMott Short Prose Contest, Spring 2015. Indiana Review ½ K Prize, 2014. Best American Poetry, 2014. Pushcart Prize, 2012. Fellowships and Residencies: University of California, Davis, Reading and Collaboration with Composer Kurt Rohde, 2018. Willapa Bay Artists in Residence, Oysterville, Washington, July 2016. MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, New Hampshire, August 2015. Hedgebrook: A Retreat Center for Women Writers, Whidbey Island, Washington, August 2014. Academic Honors and Awards: Poet-in-Residence, Ohio University PhD Program in Creative Writing, 2017. Meyer Lecture, Honors College, Ball State University, 2017. Ballen Visiting Scholar, New Mexico Highlands University, 2017. Poet-in-Residence, The Frost Place, 2017. Florence J. Lucasse Award for Excellence in Scholarship, 2016. MacLean Distinguished Visiting Professor, Colorado College, 2012, 2017, 2018. Florence J. Lucasse Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2003.