Debra Nystrom

Debra Nystrom


430 Bryan Hall

Office Hours: By appointment, contact
Class Schedule: Mondays 2:00-4:30 (EST) and Wednesdays 10:00-12:30 (EST), with additional class engagement on Collab course sites.

Creative Writing


MFA, Goddard/Warren Wilson, 1980
B.A., University of South Dakota (summa cum laude), 1976


Bad River Road, Sarabande Books, 2009
Torn Sky, Sarabande Books, 2003
A Quarter Turn, Sheep Meadow Press, 1991

Recent Poems, Nonfiction, Stories

  • Georgia Review: “My Mother’s Gowns” (nonfiction), 2021 publication date
  • NorthWest Review: “Earliest Photograph” (poem), 2020 
  • Agni Review: “Dream of the Subjunctive” (nonfiction), 2020
  • Blackbird: “Haven’t I Been Sweet to You” (nonfiction), 2019
  • Plume: “Observatory at the Prison” (poem), 2019
  • Narrative: “On the Line” (nonfiction), 2018
  • Kenyon Review: “You Didn’t Hear It From Me” (nonfiction), 2018
  • Conjunctions: “After Three Years, He Said, These Little Trees Will Bear Fruit” (nonfiction), 2018
  • Previous Publications (Selected) in:  
    Agni Review, American Poetry Review, Antioch Review, Blackbird, Boston Review, Cortland Review, Crazyhorse, Denver Quarterly, Ecotone, Five Points, Harvard Review, Kenyon Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The New Yorker, North American Review, Northwest Review, Orion, Ploughshares, Poetry Daily, Prairie Schooner, Quarterly West, Shenandoah, Seattle Review, Slate, Southwest Review, The Threepenny Review, TriQuarterly, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Yale Review
     and many others.

Reviews and Essays

  • The Virginia Quarterly Review: “Ecstatic Sorrow:  Claudia Emerson’s Impossible Bottle,” 2016
  • The Virginia Quarterly Review “Carol Muske-Dukes and the Art of Empathy,” 2015
  • Kenyon Review “This is No Dream,” 2012

Anthologized Work In

  • More in Time, University of Nebraska Press (in press)
  • More Truly and More Strange: 100 Contemporary American Self-Portrait Poems, Persea Press, 2020
  • American Birds: A Literary Companion, Library of America, 2020
  • Plume Poetry 7, Plume, 2019
  • The Golden Shovel: Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks, University of Arkansas Press, 2017
  • The Mind of Monticello, University of Virginia Press, 2016
  • Good Poems, American Places, Viking, 2012
  • The Kingdom of Grass, Center for Western Studies Press, 2011
  • Bright Wings, Perseus Press, 2009
  • Best American Poetry 2008, Scribner 2009
  • When She Named Fire: Contemporary Poetry by Women,  Autumn House Press, 2008
  • Red, White and Blues: On the Promise of America, University of Iowa Press, 2004
  • Strongly Spent: Fifty Years of Shenandoah, Shenandoah,2004
  • Common Wealth, University of Virginia Press, 2003
  • Birthday Poems, Thunder's Mouth Press, 2002
  • Like Thunder: Poets Respond to Violence in America, University of Iowa Press, 2002
  • Acquainted With the Night, Columbia University Press, 1999
  • The Sheep Meadow Anthology, Sheep Meadow Press, 1999
  • More Light, National Writers' Voice Project, Harcourt Brace, 1994

Honors and Awards

  • University of Virginia Arts Research Grants, 2020, 2019, 2016, 2014, 2012, 2006
  • Best American Essays 2019, “Notable Essays and Literary Nonfiction of 2018” selection 
  • Narrative “Story of the Week” selection, 2018
  • UVA Arts Faculty Fellowship, 2017-2018
  • Virginia Foundation for the Humanities Research Fellowship, 2013
  • American Life in Poetry Features, The Poetry Foundation, 2016, 2012 and 2005
  • Virginia Prize for Poetry, 2010 and 2004
  • Academy of American Poets Poetry Month Feature, 2009
  • Writers' Almanac Feature, 2012, 2009 and 2004
  • Best American Poetry selection, 2008
  • Virginia Commonwealth University Cabell Memorial Panel, 2008    
  • James Dickey Prize in Poetry, Five Points Magazine, 2007
  • Shepard Visiting Writer, University of Wyoming Conference on Social Justice, 2004
  • Hemley Award finalist, Poetry Society of America, 2004
  • PoetryNet Poet of the Month, April 2004
  • Pushcart Prize nominations, 2009, 2008, 2004, 2003, 1990, 1988, 1985, 1984
  • Heart/Borders Poetry Prize, 2002
  • Lantern Society Award for Women's Education, University of Virginia, 2002
  • Boatwright Prize for Poetry, Shenandoah, 2000 and 1994
  • Virginia Commission for the Arts Individual Fellowships in Poetry, 1997 and 1987
  • Balch Prize for Poetry, Virginia Quarterly Review, 1991
  • National Poetry Series finalist, 1990
  • Yaddo Fellowship,1984
  • Hoyns post-graduate fellowship, University of Virginia, 1982

Readings/Presentations (selected)

Aspen Writers Conference, Aspen, CO; Blacksmith House, Cambridge, MA; Bowery Series, New York, NY; Chapters Bookstore, Washington, DC; College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA; Council Fires Cultural Center, Sioux Falls, SD; Dactyl Foundation for the Arts and Humanities, New York, NY; Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH; Elon University, Elon, NC; Hollins College, Roanoke, VA; James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA; KGB Poetry Series, New York, NY; Library of Congress, Washington, DC; Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA; New Jersey Public Radio; Penn State Erie, Erie, PA; Quail Ridge Series, Raleigh, NC; Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY; Sweetbriar College, Amherst, VA; University of North Carolina Greensboro, Greensboro, NC; University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA; University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY; Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA; Virginia Festival of the Book, Charlottesville, VA; Virginia Public Radio; Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC; Warren Wilson College, Asheville, NC; Wyoming Public Radio