Traci Brimhall


Traci Brimhall is the author of four collections of poetry: Come the Slumberless to the Land of Nod (Copper Canyon Press, 2020), Saudade (Copper Canyon Press, 2017); Our Lady of the Ruins (W.W. Norton, 2012), and Rookery (Southern Illinois University Press, 2010). Her children’s book, Sophia & The Boy Who Fell, was published by SeedStar Books in March 2017. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, and New England Review, among others. Some of her work has also been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, Best of the Net, PBS Newshour, and Best American Poetry 2013 & 2014. She has also received the Just Desserts Short Fiction Prize from Passages North, the Annie Dillard Award for Creative Nonfiction from Bellingham Review, and a Pushcart Prize, among many other awards.  She holds degrees from Florida State University (BA), Sarah Lawrence College (MFA), and Western Michigan University (PhD). She works as an Associate Professor and Director of Creative Writing at Kansas State University. Source

Admissions Essay

               I am a good student. Voted most likely to try

harder. Not voted most likely for fairytales, though I have

been both hooded and wolfed. My honors thesis on the role

of motherlessness and love hunger brought the candied

house down.

               I could’ve been valedictorian if the metric

was ardor and potential for transformation. I recognize

the chemical structure of oxytocin and how to calculate

my best chance for a free drink from across the room,

and both have strong angles.

               I know how it feels when that hormone unlatches

my ribs, silks my legs. I don’t confuse that with love

because in each unit of intimacy, I enter slow. Adjust

my breath. Recognize the accusations that are


               I excelled in the serious ethics of kissing, how

it makes the body more image than idea, but I admit

that sometimes I like to lick mezcal and grapefruit from

a hero’s morally ambiguous mouth. I’m sorry.

               That’s how I know I’m a successful candidate.

The temptations. The failures. The ever afters of forgiveness

I have already lived. For so long I offered others the love

I wanted to receive, the cursive letters and lost slippers.

The balanced equations and checkbooks. Years of service

in the scales of care. Change my story. Accept me.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Humor & Satire

Love & Relationships


Literary Devices:


written or spoken language in its ordinary form, without metrical structure


an instruction or a command

Template Poem

a poem in which a poet uses a predetermined form to structure the poem. For example: a multiple-choice format, a recipe, directions, the Pledge of Allegiance, the Miranda Rights. A template poem borrows an already established form to provide structure and commentary.

Varied syntax

diverse sentence structure