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Professor and graduate student read at the Poetry Foundation

Poetry FoundationEastern Illinois University English professor Ruben Quesada and English graduate assistant Tana Young were selected to read original poems at the Poetry Foundation's, “The Open Door Reading Series,” in Chicago, April 15, 2014. The Open Door series presents work from Chicago’s new and emerging poets and highlights outstanding writing programs on a monthly basis. Each hour-long reading features two Chicagoland college and graduate writing program instructors and two of their current or recent students.

"The opportunity to read for 'The Open Door Reading Series' came from a call for submissions put out by Poetry Foundation Program Director Stephen Young," Dr. Quesada said. "The call was for teachers in the Chicago area to feature creative writing programs and their students." 

Dr. Quesada teaches English and Creative Writing at EIU. He is the author of Next Extinct Mammal and translator of Luis Cernuda: Exiled from the Throne of Night. He also is the founder and publisher of Codex Journal, and poetry editor at The Cossack Review. A founder of Stories & Queer, a non-profit, traveling reading series whose mission is to create safe storytelling spaces for poets and writers of color in underrepresented areas of the county, he now serves as its creative consultant. A Pushcart Prize nominee in poetry, his writing has appeared in The American Poetry Review, The California Journal of Poetics, Guernica, Cimarron Review, and elsewhere. He has been a fellow and resident at CantoMundo, Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, Vermont Studio Center, Squaw Valley Community of Writers, Santa Fe Art Institute, Lambda Literary Foundation Writer’s Retreat, and Idyllwild Arts Program.

His research interests include poetry and poetics, digital storytelling (composition), and queer studies.

Tana is a non-traditional graduate student in the EIU English department, with an area of study in Literary Studies, Creative Writing Thesis. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing, Poetry emphasis, Creative nonfiction minor, from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers at Eastern Washington University, where she also received a GSA Poetry Fellowship. Tana holds a BA in English: Writing and Literature, with an Art History minor, from Whitworth University; and she holds an AAS in Advertising Art from Spokane Falls Community College.

She has taught English composition, researched argument, technical writing, literature, creative nonfiction and introduction to creative writing at the university and college level.

“I selected Tana because she has been my student for two semesters and I was familiar with her writing and acuity with language. I was impressed by Tana’s ability to convey her thoughts clearly and carefully in writing and during class discussion,” Dr. Quesada said.

Currently, Tana is a tutor in the EIU Writing Center, working one-on-one with a range of graduate, undergraduate, international and nontraditional students, helping them with their writing. This semester, she is also teaching in an Honors English classroom with Dr. Dagni Bredesen in a mentored teaching capacity. She attends EIU as a full-time student.

“Tana is currently a student in my graduate poetry workshop where her writing has matured and opened up to reveal personal and compelling narratives about her world views," Dr. Quesada said. "Tana is incredibly talented; she is sensitive to the nature and power of storytelling in poetry."

"I'm so honored to have been chosen to read at the Poetry Foundation," Tana said. "It's a huge honor, and I'm grateful for the support of EIU English Department."