New Faculty 2015-16: Jessica Bozek

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Congratulations on your full-time appointment in the WP, Jessica! Could you tell us a little about your experience at BU so far?

Before moving over to the WP full-time this fall, I was the Writing Coordinator for the Sargent Writing Initiative. I taught one WR class each semester and my office was in Sargent, so I didn’t have as many opportunities for casual conversation around the office. It’s really wonderful to be here full-time now, concentrating on teaching. I can also devote more energy to building (with Carrie Bennett) the Creative Composition cluster, which came out of a WRX pilot course, Poetry Now.

Do you have an interesting story from one of your classes or engagements with our colleagues?

Marisa Milanese & I are informally competing for lightest, warmest winter coat.

How do you like to teach as an instructor of first-year writing?

One thing I find invaluable is putting students at the center of their own learning and creating many centers within the classroom. 

In Poetry Now, we use an MFA model to workshop students’ essays and poems (which respond formally, thematically, or linguistically to books of poetry we’ve been discussing), then work in small editorial groups to select and publish revised versions in the final class project, an online journal of poetry and criticism called The First Experiment.

This semester in Reading Disaster (a #FergusonSyllabus experiment course), students pitched preliminary Elevator Stories for their final essays and got really involved in responding to one another’s stories. This was a great way for me to see how students had interpreted the concerns of the course and for students to nurture their peers’ ideas.

Jessica Bozek is the author of two full-length collections of poetry, The Tales (Les Figues, 2013) and The Bodyfeel Lexicon (Switchback, 2009), as well as several chapbooks: Squint into the Sun (Dancing Girl, 2010), Other People’s Emergencies (Hive, 2009), Touristing (Dusie, 2009), and correspondence (Dusie, 2007). Winner of the 2012 NOS Book Contest, The Tales is based largely on the Reading Disaster seminar she taught at BU from 2007-2012. Recent poems appear or are forthcoming in Another Chicago Magazine, Everyday Genius, Tarpaulin Sky, and The Volta. Recent non-fiction appears in A. Bradstreet, American Microreviews and Interviews, and Zoland Poetry. Jessica currently runs the Small Animal Project Reading Series, which was awarded a project grant from the Cambridge Arts Council and Massachusetts Cultural Council in 2012. With her Poetry Now classes, she has created an online poetry journal called The First Experiment.

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