Shira Dentz

Senior Lecturer, Communication and Media

Shira Dentz is a poet, writer and author of four acclaimed books of poetry: Black Seeds on a White Dish, Door of Thin Skins, How Do I Net Thee (forthcoming), and The Sun a Blazing Zero (forthcoming), and two chapbooks, Leaf Weather and FLOUNDERS. She was Reviews Editor from 2011–2016 at Drunken Boat, an online international journal of art and literature, and is currently Special Features Editor at Tarpaulin Sky, an online literary zine, where in addition to editing special features she curates a bi-weekly blog feature.

Her books have been favorably reviewed in many venues including American Book Review, Rain Taxi, and Boston Review, and her writing has appeared and forthcoming in many literary journals, including Poetry, The American Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, Western Humanities Review, Brooklyn Rail, and New American Writing, and featured online at The Academy of American Poets’ website (, the Poetry Foundation, NPR, Poetry Daily, and Verse Daily. Her awards including an Academy of American Poets’ Prize, the Poetry Society of America’s Lyric Poem Award and Cecil Hemley Memorial Award, Electronic Poetry Review’s Discovery Award, and Painted Bride Quarterly’s Poetry Prize.

Her experiments in creative writing and her background in the visual arts reflect her range of inquiry into formal composition, an inquiry propelled by her interest in the politics inherent in formal conventions. She is particularly interested in giving voice to aspects of female experience that have not been given much literary expression. Towards this end, she explores the limits of language by drawing from visual art and infusing her work with a spatial or an ideogrammatic element, and giving shape to the bodily dimensions of cognition. Some of those limits are legible in her use of gestural writing such as scribbles, concrete shapes, and typography. Her writing necessarily engages with a poetics that extends the written word in connection to race, gender, and ethnicity. Her current works-in-progress include a hybrid manuscript centered on female aging and a Dream Box centered on the metaphysics of “home."

Her passion for writing, literature, and interdisciplinary inquiry inform her teaching. Her areas of specialty are creative writing, 20th and 21st century American literature, European and American Modernism, and an interdisciplinary focus on the relation between word and image.  She teaches poetry, creative nonfiction, and short story workshops. Her creative writing students read and experiment with hybrid writing (poetic, narrative, and visual), and she encourages fluidity between genres and artistic mediums.

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