Dr. Terri K. Borchers graduated from the university of Stanford with a degree in American Studies going on to complete law school at Northwestern University. She has practiced labor and discrimination law, worked as Counsel to the Chair of Oregon House Labor Committee and was then appointed to work as an Administrative Law Judge. Dr. Borchers made the decision a few years later to continue her education past these accomplishments and earned her: MA, MFA, and PhD in English with a specialty in Poetry. She has since found her calling as an educator, working as an Adjunct, Assistant, and Associate Professor in Ohio, Utah, Oregon and at Medaille College in Buffalo, New York.
Her love for poetry and submissions to us, is what inspired her coincidental connection to StreetPoetz.com. You can view her Poetry submissions for “Calling”, “Distance” and “When” here. Dr. Borchers was gracious in agreeing to a follow-up interview that gives us a look into her world.
Dr. Borchers, you’ve recently submitted poetry for inclusion on StreetPoetz.com – Poems titled: “Calling”, “Distance”, and “But You”. Would you like to share the story behind what inspired you to write these poems?
“All three poems have been inspired by my relationship to my soul mate, a man who died seven years ago. I see all three as part of a series of some, or my kind of elegies I continue to write for him and my mother, who died this past year.”
What drives you to write poetry? Where do your inspirations generally stem from?
“Ideas come first, then sound. As a poet, I often think I hear the world before I see it. I want to make things out of words and music; bring ideas to life, and enhance them by and with sensory particulars – the immediate and concrete, common and uncommon – particulars that surround us. Poetry, to be sure, is a combination of music and language, and I would not (and cannot) be who i am without Mozart, the lyrics of Big Joe Williams and Annie Lennox, and ‘the low spark of high-heeled boys’. I want and need to have lyric, pace momentum, and song in my work”
How long have you been writing?
“I’ve been writing since about the second grade. I’m so very lucky to have been raised with my mother’s love of language (and music and crossword puzzles) that have always been crucial parts of my life.”
How would you describe your style of poetry?
“Somewhere between Wallace Stevens’ love for idea, music, and sound, William Carlos Williams “No ideas but in things”, and Adrienne Rich’s uncompromising talent for making things new – of learning the rules so you can break them in meaningful ways.”
As a Professor at Medaille College, what courses do you currently teach?
“I teach a variety of Writing, Literature, and Creative Writing courses.
- My writing courses study: City safety, caring and responsible neighborhoods – and the lack thereof – as well as Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown; students engage in academic service learning and write essays about their volunteer work.
- “My Intro to Creative Writing course helps students write both poetry and short fiction. My prelude Practicum course produces the Medaille College creative arts journal.
Almost all of my Literature classes address fiction by and about women from a feminist perspective
- My GEN 411 Capstone course requires 3rd and 4th year students to accomplish an advanced 20-25 page researched argument of academic and professional merit in their major field.”
What can students expect to experience in one of your classes?
“A task master and hard grader: Students learn to follow directions, learn how to read closely and carefully, learn how to think critically, solve problems, and how to make themselves and their words out of language. Nothing could be more important.”
Do you have any future plans or events planned in the realms of creativity?
“Completion of this year’s Medaille Prelude by May. Completin of a new (for me) combination of a poem/short story about an intervention in what otherwise might have become an incident of sexual assault.”
Do you practice any other forms of artistry?
“I sing in the church choir and consider my body work – dance, yoga, Pilates, swimming, walking, running, biking, mountain climbing – as integral parts of my life as a creative artist.”
Are there any interesting facts or hidden talents that others may be intrigued to learn about you?
“I don’t hide much. I make a great cinnamon and pumpkin cake and homemade tomato/vegetable soup.”