Meet our Adjunct Faculty: Joanna Beth Tweedy
Joanna Beth Tweedy
Adjunct Instructor of English, Creative Writing
Faculty-in-Residence: Capitol Scholars Honors Program
M.A. English, University of Illinois at Springfield
WUIS Literary Host
Phone: (217) 206-6779
Office: UHB 3054
Teaching Concentration: Poetry, literary fiction, creative nonfiction.
Courses: Creative Writing: Fiction I, Fiction II, Fiction III, and Fiction IV; Introduction to Writing Poetry; Introduction to British Literature; Honors Composition; Writing in the Disciplines; Critical Legal Issues in Education; Best Practices for Language Arts and Social Science Instruction
Biography: An ardent foreign-adventurist with chronic and gravitational homesoil leanings, poet and novelist Joanna Beth Tweedy was born and raised in a foothilled fraction of the world leapfrogged betwixt the Ozarks and Appalachia. Inherent in her work is the imprint of this distinct, oft-overlooked region and its crossbred wonders—offerings both merciless and full of grace. While she seeks to give voice to this wonder in her writing, her work in higher education seeks to effect the wonders inherent in a commitment to lifelong learning and exploration unending. A wanderluster at heart, Joanna finds in travel the gift of keen understanding and expanded perspective; a wonderluster in spirit, she finds her way home through poetry.
Also an administrator at Benedictine University’s Springfield College campus, Joanna is delighted to be a part of that campus’s progressive vision while continuing to contribute time to her own alma mater (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 1995 and University of Illinois at Springfield 2004) in a teaching role and by coordinating student creative-writer-in-residence opportunities.
Publications and Acknowledgements:
- The Yonder Side of Sass and Texas, forthcoming novel (SEMO University Press, 2008)
- Southern Women Writers Emerging Voices Award Finalist
- Glimmer Train Fiction Award Finalist
- The Alsop Review Editor’s Prize
- Ray Bradbury Creative Writing Award Honorable Mention, poetry
- New Millennium Fiction Awards Semifinalist
- Long Story Short Editor’s Prize
- Voices and Visions, an international anthology of travel writing
- Beyond Mainstream magazine
- Reiki International magazine
- Sound/View, poetry
- Post-Mortem Musings (Illinois Humanities Council), poetry
- Association of Illinois Middle Schools journal
- Illinois Times, poetry
- Select Poems, Stone Soup, Out of the Blue Art Gallery, Cambridge, Massachusetts (June 2006)
- “Hangdog,” Twentieth-Century Literature Conference, Louisville, Kentucky (2004)
- “Dialectic Dance,” WUIS Public Radio NPR/IPR affiliate, University of Illinois at Springfield (2006)
- “Backside of Memory,” “Bounty,” and “Indian Summer,” Illinois Museum of Funeral Customs (2005)
- “State of Affairs,” Illinois Philological Association Annual Conference (2005)
- “Metafiction and Metaphysics in Graham Greene,” Twentieth-Century Literature Conference, Louisville, Kentucky (2004)
- “The Muse and the Writing Process,” English Articulation Conference, (2004)
- “Gender Perspectives and Use of Voice in Creative Fiction,” Illinois Philological Association Annual Conference (2003)
- “Bringing Your Best to the Table: Being Part of a Writing Group,” English Articulation Conference, (2003)
- “Classroom Technology in Writing Instruction,” Illinois Education and Technology Conference, (2000)
- “Technology in Education,” Illinois State Legislature’s TECH 2000 Conference, (1999)
As a literary host for WUIS Public Radio, Joanna conducts interviews with authors of local, national, and international acclaim. Excerpts from these interviews are available at www.wuis.org.
Joanna has also granted several interviews. An excerpt from her interview with the editors of Long Story Short is available below:
LSS: What, in your opinion, is an important element of good writing?
JBT: Good writing connects writer and reader in a fugitive embrace, sometimes across time, culture, and understanding … fugitive because the encounter forever changes both reader and work as much as it links the two.
LSS: How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
JBT: For me, writing tends to happen initially in sparks of notion—those instances I feel driven to press into page-permanence a transient thought. More than most of my work has generated from these seeds of conception: traces of impression from the footprints of fancy, or wisps of recollection from the drop edge of memory—each finding its way in some form to the nearest pad of paper, notebook, napkin, skin-surface or such, including my shoes (once, with charcoal). The “real work” happens in revision, where the balancing act occurs between craft and coalescence, expansion and concision, device and subtlety—and, ultimately—the prosaic and the profound. This is where the ordinary can become extraordinary.
LSS: What do you do to unwind and relax?
JBT: I laugh. I tap. I play with a houseful of strays. I write, read, sing, endeavor not to crash-dive my bicycle once more for the third time, partake in hootenannies, lose at poker, win at pitch, hatch-up recipe-less recipes, celebrate the mystery of life’s grace, and pretend I can handle my whiskey.
LSS: How does your family feel about your writing? Are they supportive?
JBT: My family, boundless in number and affection, has graced my life with abundance. Their support is as bountiful as their love, and I consider both among life’s best gifts.
LSS: What inspires you? Who inspires you?
JBT: Wonder inspires me. Other writers inspire me. At any given time, I’m in the middle of a mess of books. The quantity of quality writing in this world is downright inspiring. Poets inspire me, especially the ones the world may not yet know but ought: Chad Baldwin, Dakin Dalpoas, David Logan, and Amy Sayre-Roberts.
LSS: What is most frustrating about writing?
JBT: That my mama doesn’t do more of it.
LSS: What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given as a writer?
JBT: Read closely, read critically, and read unending.
LSS: What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
JBT: Read closely, read critically, and read unending.
~Complete transcript available at Long Story Short~