Transitions and Transactions II

Literature and Creative Writing Pedagogies in Community Colleges


Billy Collins photo

Keynote Speaker

Billy Collins is an American phenomenon. No poet since Robert Frost has managed to combine high critical acclaim with such broad popular appeal. His work has appeared in a variety of periodicals including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The American Scholar, he is a Guggenheim fellow and a New York Public Library "Literary Lion." His last three collections of poems have broken sales records for poetry. His readings are usually standing room only, and his audience – enhanced tremendously by his appearances on National Public Radio – includes people of all backgrounds and age groups. The poems themselves best explain this phenomenon. The typical Collins poem opens on a clear and hospitable note but soon takes an unexpected turn; poems that begin in irony may end in a moment of lyric surprise. No wonder Collins sees his poetry as "a form of travel writing" and considers humor, "a door into the serious." It is a door that many thousands of readers have opened with amazement and delight. Billy Collins has published eight collections of poetry, including Questions About Angels, The Art of Drowning, Picnic, Lightning, Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes, Sailing Alone Around the Room: New & Selected Poems, Nine Horses, and The Trouble With Poetry and Other Poems.

Anne Waldman photo

Featured Speaker

Anne Waldman is an internationally acclaimed poet and activist. Her poetry is recognized in the lineage of Whitman and Ginsberg, and in the Beat, New York School and Black Mountain trajectories of the New American Poetry. Allen Ginsberg referred to Waldman as his “spiritual wife” and they co-founded The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Buddhist inspired Naropa University in 1974. She remains a highly original “open field investigator” of consciousness, committed to possibilities of radical shifts of language and states of mind to create new modal structures and montages of attention. She is the author of more than 40 books, including Fast Speaking Woman, a collection of essays entitled Vow to Poetry, Helping the Dreamer, Kill or Cure, and In the Room of Never Grieve. She has concentrated on the long poem with such projects as Marriage: A Sentence, Structure of The World Compared to a Bubble, Manatee/Humanity and The Iovis Trilogy: Colors in the Mechanism of Concealment, which won the 2012 PEN Center Award for Poetry. Her forthcoming book from Penguin Poets (2013) is Gossamurmur. Waldman is the recipient of the prestigious 2013 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Award and she is a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets.

Keith Kroll photo

Featured Speaker

Keith Kroll, Ph.D., has taught writing, American literature, literary criticism, and college success strategies for twenty-eight years in the English Department at Kalamazoo Valley Community College. He received his A.A. in Liberal Arts from Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California in 1978; a B.A. in English and in American history from the University of California at Davis in 1981; his M.A. in English Literature from the University of California at Riverside in 1986, and his Ph.D. in English from Michigan State University in 1996. His work has appeared in a variety of journals, including Teaching English in the Two-Year College, Fourth Genre, and Radical Teacher; and on websites such as and He has edited or co-authored several books, including The Politics of Writing in the Two-Year College (2001); Contemplative Teaching and Learning (2010); Fostering The Liberal Arts in the Twenty-First Century Community College (in press); and with Barry Alford, Teaching in the Twenty-First Century Community College (forthcoming). He blogs at

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