Callista Buchen, Ph.D.

“As a teacher, my job is to help students to learn to think in questions–to develop critical and rhetorical curiosity and to use this awareness for meaningful communication in their work, whether in argument, analysis, or art.”


Assistant professor of English

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., University of Kansas – Lawrence, KS
  • M.F.A., Bowling Green State University – Bowling Green, OH
  • M.A., University of Oregon – Eugene, OR
  • B.S., University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point – Stevens Point, WI

Year Joined Franklin



American literature, composition, creative writing, poetry writing, creative nonfiction writing, fiction writing, editing and publishing

Can creative writing really be taught?

Absolutely! While we might first imagine the writer as a cloaked figure hunched over a desk in a dark room with a single candle, inspiration transferred onto the page in a mysterious and even magical process, writing ability is neither exceptional nor predetermined. Rather, creative writing is a practice. Learning to write is a complex and continuous process that requires persistence and resilience, not to mention the development of craft techniques and critical reading and thinking skills over time. Creative writing classes allow emerging and experienced writers to understand and hone such skills in community, while also coming to understand literary citizenship and the role of literature for the artist, the reader, and the larger world.

Will reading and writing matter in the future, especially given our rapidly changing world and the influx of new technology?

While technology changes the way we encounter the world, including what and how we read and write, reading and writing remain valuable, and have become even more vital. In a world that is somehow increasingly connected yet more divided, reading and writing are essential—they are collaborative acts where readers and writers, even when they disagree, work together to make meaning. Such acts allow us to develop empathy and to better understand what we think we know and who we think we are, and to interrogate what it really means to be human.
“My confidence in the future of literature consists in the knowledge that there are things that only literature can give us,” writes Italo Calvino in Six Memos for the Next Millennium. Though they might look different depending on historical needs and cultural values, reading and writing have been evolving for millennia, and like Calvino, I’m sure of their continued role in our lives. We have access to more texts than ever before, and more places to share what we’ve read. With reading and writing come joy, connection, and knowledge, which make them eminently worthy of pursuit, and technology can facilitate this process.

Selected Professional Accomplishments


Look Look Look. Black Lawrence Press. Forthcoming 2019.
Double-Mouthed (chapbook), dancing girl press. 2016.
The Bloody Planet (chapbook), Black Lawrence Press. 2015.

Additional Publications

Dr. Buchen’s poetry, collaborative poetry, prose, and reviews have appeared in Harpur Palate, Puerto del Sol, Salt Hill, The Literary Review, and many other journals. For more, see

Recent Conference Presentations

“Gender and Authority: Teaching Under the Male Gaze,” panel presentation. AWP, Portland, OR. Forthcoming March 2019.

“Beyond Peer Workshop: Models of Engaged Learning in Creative Writing Courses,” panel organizer and panel presentation. Creative Writing Studies Conference. Forthcoming October 2018.

“Stealing from STEM: Applying Pedagogies from Other Disciplines in the Creative Writing Classroom,” panel organizer and panel presentation.AWP, Miami, FL. March 2018.

“Improving Childhood Literacy through an Elementary-College Partnership,” panel presentation. National Council of Teachers of English Conference. St. Louis, MS. November 2017.

“Building Community: Collaborative Poetry,” workshop. Creative Writing Studies Conference. Black Mountain, NC. November 2017.

“Undergraduate Research in the Creative Writing Classroom,” panel presentation. Creative Writing Studies Conference. Black Mountain, NC. November 2017.

“My First Year: from Graduate School to Academic Life,” panel organizer and panel presentation. AWP, Washington, D.C. February 9th, 2017.

Invited keynote speaker. Elgin Literary Festival, Elgin, Illinois. January 26-29th, 2016.

“‘Joy Is So Exhausting:’ The Contemporary Poetics of Motherhood,” panel organizer and panel presentation. AWP, Los Angeles, CA. April, 2016.

About Me

I believe in quiet time, eating late at night, mixing patterns, and voting. I’m 5’4″ and a little bit, but I always write down 5’5” since’ I believe in rounding up. A lover of musical theater, peanut butter pasta with lime, and making something from nothing, I love the surprise of getting knocked over again and again by great books and great ideas, and now getting to watch this magic happen for my two young children. When I’m not teaching, reading, or writing, I’m laughing with my family, playing all the board games and forgetting to keep score, and plotting what to plant in next year’s garden.