When did you first feel like a writer?
It took a while for me to feel like a writer–even though I’ve been writing most of my life–because I was wrapped up in the notion of what it meant to be a “real” writer.   I gave up on that notion when I realized a “real” writer isn’t the person with the most publications, but someone who gets to the page to express herself.  In that way, I’ve been a writer since the second grade.
What's your philosophy about teaching a writing class?
There is no one way to write a poem, so I think the beauty of teaching a writing class is having the opportunity to help each individual writer find her way into her poem.
If you could meet any fictional character, who would it be and why?

If I could meet any fictional character, it would probably be Jay Gatsby because, in some ways, I feel like we are kindred spirits who would share a meaningful hug.

About Chet’la: 

Chet’la Sebree is the author of Field Study, winner of the 2020 James Laughlin Prize, and Mistress, which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. She is the director of the Stadler Center for Poetry & Literary Arts and an assistant professor at Bucknell University. For her work, she has received fellowships and awards from the Academy of American Poets, Hedgebrook, MacDowell, and Yaddo. Her work has most recently appeared in Dr. Ibram X. Kendi & Dr. Keisha N. Blain’s Four Hundred Souls: A Community of African America, 1619-2019.




It was playful, hopeful, challenging. Chet’la has positive energy, is very knowledgeable, and embraces our questions.”

She loves poetry and wants to give, to teach. She lets us speak our reactions.”

Very knowledgeable. Good at keeping things moving on track.”

She was open, clear and insightful in sharing her own process.”

Love her—very articulate, clear, responds to all questions.”