Lauri Scheyer

Professor & Author

Chicago native Lauri Scheyer earned a BA from the Creative Writing Program at Oberlin College, and MA and PhD in Creative Writing and English and American Literature at the University of Chicago. She was founding Curator of the nation’s only African American Poetry Archive, and founding Director of the UK’s first BA program in Creative Writing. She is currently Xiaoxiang Distinguished Professor and Director of the Creative Writing Program and British and American Poetry Research Center at Hunan Normal University (China), and Professor and Center for Contemporary Poetry and Poetics Director at California State University, Los Angeles. She teaches all genres of creative writing, and is especially interested in global and culturally inclusive approaches to creative writing pedagogy. A widely published author who has received numerous literary awards, her most recent book is A History of African American Poetry (Cambridge University Press, 2019).

Personal statement: In high school, my dream was to become a poet and teach creative writing and literature. I sincerely thought that was the best job I could possibly have. That dream was fulfilled, and after many years, I still believe that supporting and respecting young writers is a great honor and privilege. In high school, a book that profoundly influenced me was David Walker’s Appeal. One of my favorite high school writing memories is how the teachers took my literary passion seriously, and encouraged me to follow it where it led. Their support changed my life and also explains why I’m committed to supporting the mission of Polyphony.