Transforming Text: Behind the Scenes of a Poem

Thursday February 276-7pm 

Featuring poets Hannah Stephenson, Nick Courtright, Leah Umansky, Luisa Igloria, and Justin Runge
In conjunction with the 2014 AWP Conference & Bookfair

How does a poem become a poem? How do the lines take shape? What if a book of poems came with a blooper reel? Join us as five poets candidly present the transformation of one of their pieces. Presentations will be accompanied by excerpts from journals and notes, drafts, photographs, and short video. Part of TPR’sTransformation topic, this event is for anyone interested in inspiration, artistic process, creativity, and words.


About the Presenters

Leah Umansky.jpg

Hannah Stephenson is a poet, editor, and instructor living in Columbus, Ohio (where she also runs a monthly literary event series called Paging Columbus). Her writing has appeared in The AtlanticThe Weekly Rumpus, Verse Daily, The Huffington PostHobartContraryMAYDAY, and The Nervous Breakdown; her collection, In the Kettle, the Shriek, is now available from Gold Wake Press. You can visit her online at The Storialist (

Nick Courtright’s debut full-length, Punchline, came out in April 2012 with Gold Wake Press, and a chapbook, Elegy for the Builder’s Wife, is available from Blue Hour Press. His poetry has also appeared in many literary journals, including The Southern Review,Kenyon Review OnlineBoston ReviewThe Iowa Review, and many others.

In Austin, Texas, he teaches classes such as Creative Writing, Classicism, Romanticism, and Writing for Publication, among other literature and writing courses.

From 2007-2013 he was a music journalist and Interviews Editor for the Austinist, and he has interviewed such interesting personalities as “Weird Al” Yankovic, Nick Offerman, Michael Ian Black, Henry Rollins, and Paul Giamatti, and musicians from bands like St. Vincent, MGMT, Odd Future, and Destroyer.

Less résumé-ly, he is an Ohio native and the oldest of six kids.  And lastly, but most importantly, he lives with his wife Michelle, who works in media, and his sons William and Samuel.

Leah Umansky’s first book of poems, Domestic Uncertainties, is out now by BlazeVOX [Books.] Her Mad-Men inspired chapbook, Don Dreams and I Dream is forthcoming from Kattywompus Press in early 2014.  She has been a contributing writer for BOMB Magazine’s BOMBLOG and Tin House,  a poetry reviewer for The Rumpus and a live twitterer for the Best American Poetry Blog. She also hosts and curates the COUPLET Reading Series. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in POETRY, Thrush Poetry Journal, and The Brooklyn Rail. Read more at:

Originally from Baguio City in the Philippines, Luisa Igloria (previously published as Maria Luisa Aguilar-Cariño) has four daughters, and now makes her home in Virginia with most of her family. She is a Professor of Creative Writing and English, and Director of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University.

Her work has appeared or been accepted in numerous anthologies and journals including Poetry, Crab Orchard Review, The Missouri Review, Indiana Review, Poetry East, Umbrella, Sweet, qarrtsiluni, poemeleon, Smartish Pace, Rattle, The North American Review, Bellingham Review, Shearsman (UK), PRISM International (Canada), Poetry Salzburg Review (Austria), The Asian Pacific American Journal, and TriQuarterly.

Various national and international literary awards include  the 2009 Ernest Sandeen Poetry Prize for JUAN LUNA’S REVOLVER (University of Notre Dame Press), the 2007 49th Parallel Poetry Prize (selected by Carolyne Wright for the Bellingham Review), the 2007 James Hearst Poetry Prize (selected by former US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser for the North American Review); Honorable Mention in the 2010 Potomac Review Poetry Contest; Finalist in the first Narrative Poetry Contest (2009); Finalist, the 2007 Indiana Review Poetry Prize; the 2006 National Writers Union Poetry Prize (selected by Adrienne Rich); the 2006 Richard Peterson Poetry Prize (Crab Orchard Review); the 2006 Stephen Dunn Award for Poetry; Finalist, the 2005 George Bogin Memorial Award for Poetry (Poetry Society of America); the 2004 Fugue Poetry Prize(selected by Ellen Bryant Voigt); Finalist, the 2003 Larry Levis Editors Prize for Poetry from The Missouri Review; Finalist, the 2003 Dorset Prize (Tupelo Press); the first Sylvia Clare Brown Fellowship, Ragdale Foundation (2007); a 2003 partial fellowship to the Summer Literary Seminars in St. Petersburg; two Pushcart Prize nominations; a 1998 Fellowship at the Hawthornden Castle International Retreat for Writers in Lasswade, the Midlothians, Scotland; and the 1998 George Kent Award for Poetry.

Luisa is an eleven-time recipient of the Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature in three genres (poetry, nonfiction, and short fiction) and its Hall of Fame distinction; the Palanca award is the Philippines’ highest literary prize.

Justin Range is a writer, designer, and raconteur, currently living in Lawrence, Kansas with his wife and cat.

Photos above of: Leah Umansky (top) and Hannah Stephenson