Rachel Eliza Griffiths

MA English Literature, University of Delaware. MFA, Sarah Lawrence College. Special interest in photography, visual art, and mixed media. Photographer, painter/mixed media artist, poet; author of Miracle Arrhythmia (Willow Books, 2010), The Requited Distance (Sheep Meadow Press, 2011), and Mule & Pear (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2011). Recipient of fellowships, including Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, the Cave Canem Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, New York State Summer Writers Institute, and others. SLC 2011, 2014-

Current undergraduate courses

Shapes, Self, and Bridges: An Exploration of Poetry and Memoir


In this course, we'll study and engage the process by which poets engage the dynamic realms of both poetry and prose, with a concentration on memoirs and full-length collections of poetry. We'll look at the bridges between lyric and narrative works and how those complex relationships serve meaning and discovery in both genres. We'll consider how genre informs the lens of both author and audience. We'll think about shapes and how a body of work finds the flesh that fits its life best. Primary writers on whom we'll focus include Nick Flynn, Tracy K. Smith, Elizabeth Alexander, Mary Ruefle, Lydia Davis, Lucille Clifton, Jill Bialosky, Lacy M. Johnson, Mary Karr, and others.

Related Cross-Discipline Paths

Previous courses

Risking Sight, Sense, and Selfies: A Journey of Poetics and Identity in the 21st Century


“Lively and intact in a recurring wave/Of arrival. The soul establishes itself./ But how far can it swim out through the eyes/And still return safely to its nest?” asks John Ashbery in “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror.” In this workshop, we’ll explore the answer to his question through the use of visual art prompts and generative practices that reveal the psyche beneath the surface of our poems. We’ll focus on sensory detail through observation and close reading, placing particular emphasis on the use of imagery. We’ll also discuss poetry’s relationship to the current gears of technology and new media. How do we create, reinvent, risk, (in)validate, and erase “self” in proportion to the vast, global mediums? Many of the images that we create together will serve as our texts. We’ll consider how light and texture “frame” poems by reading work that focuses on the seen and unseen forces of the physical world. Students will participate in basic photography tasks, such as creating self-portraits, and field writing assignments with a goal of creating individual e-folios of art and text. Bring your eyes and your instincts!