As a poet-teacher, mainly with California Poets in the Schools, I reach as many as a thousand K-12 students a year through residencies in schools. As a writing consultant and editor, I help adults hone their projects toward a perfect end result. I have been known to wear different hats, mostly indicating my love of and work with text.
I established myself as a writing consultant and editor in 1998, coincidentally the same year I joined California Poets in the Schools. My first experience teaching poetry at the K-12 level was in 1996 at Murphy School in Scotia (K-8), a small town in northern California, originally built for the timber industry. A great man named Sal Steinberg believed in my abilities and brought me to the school for twelve years. When his career changed course and he moved on, the excellent staff continued to find funding for my residencies. I worked year after year with Scotia students, giving them new poetry lessons as they grew from kindergartners to young adults; I continue to design curricula for students in certain schools as they advance from one grade to another. In 2012 I became area coordinator of Humboldt, Trinity, and Del Norte counties for California Poets in the Schools.
I earned my bachelor’s degree in literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 1988; my master’s degree in literature at Humboldt State University in northern California in 1991; my master’s degree in fine arts in creative writing, specializing in poetry, at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, in 1995; and my master’s degree in teaching of writing at Humboldt State University in 2004 (this was the other emphasis offered at the time in the master’s degree in English, the first being in literature).
In 2001, I became a Teacher-Consultant with the Redwood Writing Project, an affiliate of the California and National Writing Projects. Every summer I retreat with my fellow T-Cs to Camp Mattole, a fantastically beautiful, rustic site located on the Lost Coast. When I first joined the RWP, the retreat was known as the Advanced Writing Institute, at which I would actually get housed, fed, and paid to work on my own writing for most of a week. Over the years it morphed, so that I became a member of the planning committee and staff of what was first called Writing on the River and then the Lost Coast Writers Retreat, at which attendees (also known as campers) would pay for the week featuring workshops and presentations by published authors. The retreat continues to evolve: in 2011 we began just renting the camp for ourselves and like-minded folk who want to write.
With the Redwood Writing Project, I have also become the main poetry teacher of the Young Writers Institute and Young Writers Camp (sometimes known as Young Writers Academy). Through these annual events, I’ve been able to watch third graders grow into adulthood with a deep-rooted commitment to the craft of writing. Listen to an interview with some of my students and myself at the archives of the Mad River Anthology, a radio poetry program on KHSU. Scroll down the page to see a picture of us in the studio.
What’s with my different names, anyway?
I publish under my middle and last names: Zev Levinson. People variously know me as Dan, Danny, Daniel, Zev, and more (I seem to be nickname-prone). I like all of these.