University Wisconsin Oshkosh
B.A. English Literature
Eastern Washington University
MFA Creative Writing
A Brief History
I was born and raised in Wisconsin’s Fox Valley. As a child, I was frequently grounded, which left plenty of time to explore the arts. Whether writing angsty poetry about how uncool my step-dad was or noodling around trying to figure out Tool riffs, I was constantly engaged in some matter of creative activity.
As I grew older, these proclivities became habits of being. A ferocious reader, I spent hours obsessing over The Picture of Dorian Gray and probably too much Anne Rice for a boy my age. By 14 I was kicked out of my first art school for failing English. Around 16, I started my first band, Phineas, which was a progressive rock three piece, in which I played bass and sang.
At 18, I attended college at University Wisconsin Oshkosh, where I earned a B.A. in English Literature, with a minor in Philosophy. Despite almost failing out my first year, I soon fell in love with higher education. In my Junior and Senior years, I received highly competitive research grants, which I used to study the poetry of Octavio Paz and poetry written in response to atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
In addition to finding my love for poetry, I also fell in love with my job as a Writing Tutor at the Writing Center. During my 3 years as a writing tutor, I developed the foundation of my practice as an editor and writing guide. During these years, I specialized in working with at risk students, English language learners, and students with writing-based learning differences.
After leaving college, I was quite aimless, having not gotten into graduate school as planned. Though a frustrating few years, this period was incredibly important for my growth as a musician and a poet. Scraping by as a record store clerk and bar tender, I formed my second band, Baba Yaga, a stoner-doom 3-piece. I also wrote poetry tirelessly during this time period, which eventually led to my getting into the MFA program at Eastern Washington University.
MFA programs are intense experiences filled with wonderful, intense people. As a MFA candidate, I was able to write several hours a day and truly live the artist’s dream. In addition to being a student, I worked as a Teaching Assistant for an Introduction to English Class, in which I ranted at length about Edgar Allan Poe and Fyodor Dostoevsky.
At the start of my program, I began my internship at Willow Springs Books as a Book Designer, which was the closest thing I could get to designing albums at the time. In my second year, I took over as Managing Editor under the supervision of poet Christopher Howell.
Never content with just being one sort of artist, I also started my current band, Merlock during my MFA program. We began playing and recording within months of my moving to Spokane and have toured the Pacific Northwest. In 2020, we navigated a successful album release for our debut EP, “that which speaks…” and have most of our second record written.
The two years after graduating my MFA were intense in less fun ways. I landed what I thought would be a dream job at an Arts Non-profit, where I acted as a Program Coordinator, taught a weekly poetry workshop, and hosted a poetry open mic. However, due to a lack of funding that program eventually went under. Luckily, through my poetry workshop, I was able to land a brief Adjunct gig at North Idaho College, where I taught English 100 (and again ranted about Edgar Allan Poe and Fyodor Dostoevsky, though in a slightly more nuanced manner).
Following my Adjunct gig, I took a position as Head of Marketing for Wallaroo’s Furniture and Mattresses, a growing Pacific Northwest Furniture Brand. At Wallaroo’s, I’ve developed an in house marketing team and grown as a marketer, advertiser, writer, and web developer.
With a modicum of stability underneath my feat, I’ve decided to pursue my passions of editing and book design in an effort to serve the music industry I hold so dear.