I was born and raised in Nashville, TN. Having an accomplished seamstress and artist as a mother, and a musician as a father meant creativity played a large part in my upbringing. Poetry and art were childhood companions, along with a keen interest in the natural world. I spent my youth alternating between two distinct passions: exploring the outdoors and curling up indoors with a stack of books. That helped form the basis of a label I wear contentedly: introverted adventurer.
I graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville with a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Microbiology. I completed a year-long Medical Technology program in Huntsville, AL before becoming licensed as a Medical Technologist. I worked in clinical labs and hospitals in the fields of Microbiology, Toxicology, and Immunology.
After raising a family of four children, I returned to my creative roots to explore the craft of writing poetry. In 2009, I completed a creative writing certificate program, The Writer’s Loft, at Middle Tennessee State University, studying with Tennessee poet Bill Brown. I’ve been published in numerous journals and anthologies and I’m the author of 3 chapbooks and two full-length collections.
Continuum – Finishing Line Press, 2012
The Presence of Absence – 2014 Janice Keck Literary Award for Poetry, 2014
Rivers Within Us – Unsolicited Press, 2017
Available Light – Iris Press, 2019
The Broken Places – Saddle Road Press, 2021
I love all forms of art, and since I can’t decide which style I like best, I try my hand at several: mixed media, paper piecing, ink drawing, watercolor, and acrylic pour. I sell my work through my Etsy Store, SparrowHouseArt, and at various exhibits and art shows in the middle Tennessee area. My Mixed Media art blends images with words of encouragement – featuring themes of Home, Love, Belief in Self, and Courage – thus combining art with poetry. Acrylic pours became my new interest in 2017. I enjoy teaching acrylic pour classes at art cafes, art stores, and retreat centers.
Always physically active, I extended my love of running into the sport of triathlon. Beginning with a sprint distance triathlon in 2011, I trained for and completed the full-distance Ironman event in the inaugural Ironman Chattanooga in September 2014. I was an All World Athlete (Top 10% in my age group worldwide) in 2014, 2015, and 2016. I qualified for Age Group Nationals (Olympic distance) in 2014, 2015, and 2016. I qualified for the 2017 World Championship race for the 70.3 (Half Ironman) distance in Chattanooga, TN in September 2017 and was named a Gold All World Athlete, ranked in the top 1% of my age group. I am a past board member of my local triathlon team, Brentwood Endurance Athletic Club (BEAT).
In 2017, I created the online poetry journal, Rockvale Review, which publishes print and online twice a year. In 2018, I founded Rockvale Writers’ Colony, a writer-in-residence program in College Grove, TN just south of Nashville. Much of my time now is spent with writers of all genres and backgrounds at the colony. I also host monthly retreats and workshops exploring ways to better connect writers to the craft of writing and to support them in all their writing endeavors. I believe in the power of words and in the spirit of those wanting to share their stories with the world.
You can contact me here.
(Photo Credit: Ashley Sarmiento)