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.”

“Open, clear and insightful in sharing her own process.”

” I would highly recommend this class to any other aspiring poet. Writing endings is something that all must grapple with.”

“Chet’la is an outstanding teacher! Organized, thinking quickly, yet with wonderful insight. She paced the class well.”

“I thought the instructor was an expert in her subject, easily fluent in any related topic as she fielded questions from students.”

“She made this class intriguing, picked poems that illustrated different ways to end poems and built on the scaffolding she created.”

“Thought the course was well-laid out and the examples very helpful. Chet’la was very encouraging and nurturing in her approach to writing poetry.”