I am a poet and writer whose work often focuses on art and culture. As biographer of sculptor Enrique Alférez (forthcoming, The Historic New Orleans Collection), I have found lifelong interest in this vibrant Mexican artist who shaped the landscape of New Orleans over the course of more than sixty years. My book of poetry, State Street (Bull City Press, 2009), concentrates on a return to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina to salvage art and aspects of the city’s cultural heritage. State Street also explores the loss of home and homeland, themes I return to in poems published in The Southern Review, Louisiana Literature, Folio, The South Dakota Review, and other publications. I also publish essays, creative nonfiction, and opinion in literary journals and newspapers.
My professional life is closely tied to my love of writing and my passion for the communication arts. I have been very fortunate in this regard: my skills and expertise in communications have allowed me to work with talented scholars, artists, researchers, and students at leading universities. Most of my career has been in strategic communications and external relations in higher education. I am inspired by the role of education in making social mobility possible. Universities are great engines for the public good, creating new knowledge, opportunities, and friendships across communities, cultures, and borders; I have learned and relearned this fact at the universities at which I have studied and worked, and every day I am inspired by the faculty and students around me.
Today, I am director of global relations for UNC Global, an extension of the provost’s office at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with responsibilities for global communications, international partnerships, cultural programming, and other aspects of Carolina’s international identity. I enjoy working pan-university, in areas ranging from the arts to the sciences, and on communications activities including media relations, thought leadership, executive communications, issue management, and new technology. A very good day is one in which I have successfully brought attention or new opportunities to the great minds and imaginations at my university.
With a lifelong commitment to the arts, much of my public service is as a community arts organizer. I am especially proud of an exhibition I volunteer coordinated, “40 Days and 40 Nights,” the largest and most well-attended exhibition in the history of the Louisiana State Archives. The exhibition featured the work of more than a hundred Louisiana artists and artisans telling their own stories about the rebuilding of their region following Hurricane Katrina. I am currently collaborating on “The Walls We Build,” a month-long series of events in Durham, Wake, and Orange Counties in North Carolina in June 2018, giving artists a shared platform to examine ways humans divide themselves from one another.
I earned my MFA in creative writing with a concentration in poetry from Warren Wilson College, where I was awarded the Lisel Mueller Scholarship and the Friends of Writers Scholarship. I earned my BA in communications from the University of New Orleans, where I was awarded a scholarship from the Press Club of New Orleans.
– Updated December 4, 2017