Emma holds an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College, where she studied fiction and poetry. For the past two years, she has worked with the Marymount Manhattan College’s Bedford Hills College Program, first as a tutor and now as an administrator. She is also an Instructor-In-Training with GallopNYC, which offers therapeutic horseback-riding programs for people with disabilities. Prior to pursuing her MFA, she worked in philanthropy supporting social justice and human rights organizations. She has taught high school English conversation classes in France and facilitated creative writing workshops for women and young men in prison. Originally from Missouri, Emma loves living in Brooklyn, which she has called home for over 15 years.
As a TAP trainee, Emma had the privilege of shadowing Shawn Ferreyra and Jane Elias in their visual arts and creative writing residency at PS 316. The students, first-graders in an ASD Nest classroom, practiced observing, describing, and exploring the world around them through poetry and illustration. Their work culminated in autobiographical poems and self-portraits expressing what they would like others to know about them. For her teaching session, Emma led the class in a lesson on writing odes to discover the unexpected joy in everyday objects. Through TAP, Emma also attended excellent seminars on early and elementary arts education (with Wingspan Arts), using storytelling to craft curricula, community engagement through creative writing, and traumatic crisis intervention.
Most Memorable TAP Moment:
"My favorite TAP moments took place in my residency. I loved teaching my own lesson and watching the students’ faces light up as they made observations and connections while talking through a sample ode poem. When they returned to their tables to write their own odes, they were full of ideas, both silly and serious. It was rewarding to see the students build on and apply skills they had worked on throughout the residency, such as describing objects and emotions, and absolutely delightful to watch them having so much fun with words. I also loved the final day of the residency, when the students received their anthologies and performed some of their poems for the class. It was inspiring to see them shining with such pride, growing confidence, creative energy, and joy."
"Hour of the Swinging Door"
The voices come in the blue hour at the edge of sleep
awake I lie waiting willing them
into the space where my ear meets my pillow
a moon-crisp clearing shred by yelps and howls
I wish / will never stop wishing the coyotes would call
to the lonesome dog as kin instead of preying on
her yearning / her motherly instinct / her flesh
I don’t know if the voices behind my eyes
are the coyotes or the dog
but restless I wait for them to pick up my scent
become attuned to me as I am to them
and give me words missing in the waking world
for stirrings only animals and children can divine.
Love / you lie next to me and hear nothing
but I think if I can sync our breath we together will
sense something primal trembling our bones—
ancient rock yawning against the Atlantic
phantom fingers rustling the musty midnight air.
I could tell you that quiet is a cold breath
on the back of my neck / but what if you’ve never seen
a pair of sharp olive eyes part the shadows
across a field or a bedroom?
You fall asleep / love / holding nights / my hand
your breath steadies as I listen to whipping owl wings
and sometimes / hear you crying in your dreams.
"The Lineman’s Wife, 1946"