Tuesday 1 January 2008

A biography of sorts

The summation of the story is essentially: Originally from Normal, Illinois, Carrie Etter spent thirteen years in southern California before moving to England in 2001, where she is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. Her poems have appeared widely in the US and UK in such journals as Aufgabe, The Iowa Review, The New Republic, Poetry Review, PN Review, Shearsman, Stand, The Times Literary Supplement, and numerous other journals. Her first collection, The Tethers, was published to wide critical acclaim in 2009 (Seren Books), and the anthology she edited, Infinite Difference: Other Poetries by UK Women Poets (Shearsman Books), in 2010. Her second collection, Divining for Starters, will be published by Shearsman in February 2011.

In more detail--

1969 born and adopted
1971 first sister, Laura, arrives
surgery for pyloric stenosis
1974 move to 220 Arlington Drive, Normal, the family home for the next 35+ years
1975 second sister, Nancy
1978-9 third and fourth sisters, Sandra and Joanna, respectively. In '78, while I was at St. Clare Elementary among the nuns &c., Mom asked me for ideas for names, and I came up with Sandra while she was in labor.
1980 first poem written at the retrospectively banal Lake Holiday, Indiana
1983 first publication of a poem in a literary journal, long defunct, Taurus
discovery of and surgery for chronic appendicitis, perhaps four years’ duration
1984 lead in school play, Dial M for Murder
Dad laid off from General Electric and will not find regular employment again for three years
get first job as the only girl on the summer maintenance crew at Comlara County Park, part of a program for teens under the poverty line
1985 "Women Writing Women's Lives" night class at Illinois State University Continuing Education with Linnea Johnson; from eight participants, Womanwriter forms, continuing to meet, workshop, and read around Illinois for the next few years
publish first prose poem
1984-87 University High School: debate team, 2 years; speech team, 2 years; theatre, 1½ years; school newspaper, 2½ years
most grateful for teacher Peter Parmantie's challenges and encouragement--his interest in and teaching of etymology is at least half the reason I pursue Latin at UCLA
work part-time throughout at fast food restaurants Arby's and Kentucky Fried Chicken (before it was KFC)
1987 graduated high school, won school's Robert Brome Award for Creative Writing (a teacher of my mother's when she attended U-High)
a proofreader for six months at Game Designers' Workshop
close friend, Brian Harter, commits suicide in November at the end of Thanksgiving weekend

southern California
1988 Mom, having gone back to school a few years previous, graduates Illinois State University with a degree in education in May
the next day, begin train journey to Los Angeles, during which someone asks my name and I answer, unexpectedly, "Carrie" (heretofore Carol)
December, founding of Out Loud: The Monthly of Los Angeles Area Poetry Events
1989 first featured reading as a poet, at the Heliotrope Theater, Hollywood
I produce and read on the first reading of an erotic poetry reading series that will have irregular occurrences in different locations over the next four years and include Lauren Hoffman, Charles Harper Webb, Christian DeLaO, etc., etc.
employment as an editorial assistant at Clinical Orthopaedics & Related Research at UCLA
1990 begin night classes at Santa Monica College
first publication in university literary journals
begin employment in marketing at BTC Marketing in Santa Monica, which represented British high tech companies in the States, including Penny & Giles Avionic Systems
1992 begin teaching poetry at Santa Monica College Community Services
publication of first pamphlet, Say Mercy, with Sneaker Press, and launch with Nancy Lambert and Cecilia Woloch
begin working as Assistant to the Director of Development at Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences (i.e. grantwriting)
1993 start at UCLA on Regents and Alumni Scholarships and so the end of Out Loud, which has grown to a volunteer staff of 14 and 3000 printed copies monthly distributed over LA, Orange, and Ventura counties
during two years at UCLA, study with poets Heather McHugh, Reed Wilson, and Stephen Yenser
1994 publish first review in Poet & Critic
1995 graduate summa cum laude in English (with much Latin) from UCLA and begin MFA in creative writing at UC Irvine
spend summer working as a consultant for F/X Network to develop a series of Public Service Announcements on rape, elder abuse, domestic abuse, etc. using poetry; it wins a number of awards for PSAs
move to studio in Corona del Mar
over the next two years, study with poets Jennifer Clarvoe, Killarney Clary, Amy Gerstler, Thomas Lux, James McMichael, and Michael Ryan
1997 complete MFA
begin PhD in English at UC Irvine on Humanities Predoctoral Fellowship and move into graduate student housing with Jason McKenzie Alexander, graduate student in philosophy
1998 publication of chapbook Subterfuge for the Unrequitable by Potes & Poets Press
complete MA with thesis "Racial Fetishism and the Native Product in Sherman Alexie's Reservation Blues"
1999-2000 with Humanities Center Grant, produce series "Making Strange: The Linguistic Innovations of Four California Poets" at UC Irvine with Rae Armantrout, Michael Davidson, Martha Ronk, and Diane Ward
Teaching Assistant Consultant to the Department of English and Comparative Literature; one of two such mentor teachers chosen for the year for 200 graduate teaching assistants
2000 marry Jason in Illinois; honeymoon in Australia and New Zealand

2001 move to London, England and work on dissertation at British Library
publication of two critical essays, "'Take the Sour if You Take Me': Reading Yeats's Crazy Jane as Ireland" and "Dialectic to Dialogic: Negotiating Bicultural Heritage in Sherman Alexie's Sonnets"
Jason hired at the London School of Economics
2002 meet Claire Crowther at a reading at Birkbeck College, London, in May
attend first Arvon course in Devon, Advanced Poetry, with Simon Armitage and Glyn Maxwell in September
begin Michael Donaghy's advanced poetry course at City University in October
2003 first publications in TLS, both poems and reviews
second Arvon course in May at Lumb Bank, again Advanced Poetry, again Simon Armitage, but now with Christopher Reid as well
complete PhD in English with dissertation, Class, Gender and the Emergence of the Criminological Subject in Mid-Victorian Fiction with committee Robert Newsom, chair, J. Hillis Miller, and Hugh Roberts
begin teaching short-story writing and literature as a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire
separation from Jason
2004 begin at Bath Spa University
in November, an injury during root canal surgery leads to permanent neural damage and pain on the lower left side of my face
2005 begin teaching for The Poetry School with a ten-week course on Prose Poetry in London
move to Bradford on Avon three days before the bombings in London
divorce finalized
2006 introduction of own second-year module, Sudden Prose: The Prose Poem and Short-Short Story, at Bath Spa
niece Katelyn and nephew Alex taken into foster care on account of a sister's addiction problems
2007 in February, Dad paralysed in malpractice during his hospital stay for a kidney biopsy
in October, first collection, The Tethers, accepted for publication
2008 third pamphlet, Yet, published by Leafe Books
settlement won in lawsuit against dentist for neural damage
2009 Father dies 13 March
The Tethers published and launched in June, dedicated to his memory
over the summer, named Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Bath Spa
a fourth pamphlet, The Son, published by Oystercatcher Press in September and named Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice for winter
nephew Austin Lusher and nieces Kaylee Lusher and Joslynn Casperson taken into foster care on account of another sister's addiction problems
five trips home in one year
2010 edited anthology, Infinite Difference: Other Poetries by UK Women Poets, published and launched by Shearsman in March
chapbook Divinations published by Punch Press
Katelyn's adoptive parents end contact between her and her birthfamily, with whom she spent the first eleven years of her life (she's 12)

1 comment:

  1. Good to see the bio. I note that we were both starring in Dial M for Murder at about the same time. I was the one that crept out from behind the curtain and strangled you while you were on the telephone.