Rick Kempa Poet Essayist Editor Educator

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Kempa, Resume

Rick Kempa

Poet Essayist Editor Educator

504 Walnut Street (307) 389-3127 (cell)

Rock Springs, WY 82901 rkempa@westernwyoming.edu


  • Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, 1987

  • Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, St. John's College, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1979

College Teaching Experience

  • Western Wyoming Community College, Rock Springs. WY. Jan. 1987-present

Current positions: Associate Professor of English and Philosophy; Director of Honors Program

Classes taught include: Poetry Writing, Publishing Your Work, Technical Writing, English Composition, Comparative Religions, Introduction to Ethics, Introduction to Humanities

Readings, Workshops, Arts Advocacy (partial list)

Note: For descriptions of particular workshops, please see RickKempa.com

  • Judge, Prescott College Student Nonfiction Contest, 2017.

  • Workshop Leader and Panelist, Pen & Ink Writer’s Conference, April 2016, Rawlins, Wyoming.

  • Workshop Leader, Grand Teton National Park Artists in the Park Program, July 2015.

  • Facilitator for numerous readings in the Colorado Plateau region and beyond, in support of the anthologies On Foot: Grand Canyon Backpacking Stories (Vishnu Temple Press 2014) and Going Down Grand: Poems from the Canyon (Lithic Press, 2015), 2014-present.

  • WyoPoets Annual Conference featured presenter,  April 2015, Casper, Wyoming

  • Casper Wyoming Summer Arts Celebration presenter, July 2015

  • Panelist and workshop presenter, WyoWriters Annual Conference, Laramie, June 2013.

  • Creative writing facilitator, Buffalo Wyoming High School, Johnson County School District, May 2013

  • Workshop leader, Karen Chamberlain Poetry Festival in Carbondale, CO, April 2013

  • Presenter and judge, Wyoming Poetry Out Loud competition, Cheyenne, March 2013.

  • Presenter at Detroit’s “Day of Poetry” Celebration, Macomb Community College and Lawrence Technological University, Detroit, MI, October 2012.

  • Writing workshop leader in libraries, colleges, and public schools (all levels) on a periodic on-going basis, including nine communities in Utah and Wyoming as part of the “Tumblewords: Writers Rolling Around the West” program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts.

  • Presenter of poems and essays at numerous public events in the West. Recent readings include the Wyoming communities of Evanston, Green River, Rock Springs, and Laramie and Grand Junction, Colorado (all in 2013); Hubbell Trading Post (July 2011), Tattered Cover Bookstore, Denver, CO (June 2009), Wyoming Literary Arts Festival, Casper, WY (September 2008).

  • Presenter of public programs, “Beneath the Rim: Stories and Pictures from the Grand Canyon,” at public libraries in Ann Arbor, MI, Norwalk, CT, Moab, UT, Rock Springs and Green River, WY, 2011-2012, and at Grand Canyon National Park South Rim (2010,2013) and North Rim (2013).

  • Organizer of Visiting Writers Series at Western Wyoming College, 2009-2016. Featured writers in the 2012-13 academic year were Wyoming adventure writer Mark Jenkins, Montana novelist and memoirist Mary Clearman Blue, Detroit poet M.L. Liebler, Colorado poet Aaron Abeyta, Flagstaff river guide and author Tom Martin, and Salt Lake City author Bill Betenson.

  • Humanities scholar and discussion leader for Wyoming Council for the Humanities book discussion groups in various communities around the state: 1999-present.

  • Judge Wyoming Writers, Inc., Young Authors, Poetry Out Loud, and other contests, 1997-present.

  • Board member, Sweetwater County Library System, 2009-2015.

Recent Residencies, Awards and Honors (partial list)

  • Winner, 2017 Alligator Juniper Nonfiction Prize, for essay “Alms for the Birds” (Prescott College, AZ).

  • Finalist, 2016 Barry Lopez Creative Nonfiction Contest, for essay “What the Feet Find Out,” (Cutthroat Journal).

  • Artist-in-Residence, Grand Canyon National Park North Rim, Summer 2013.

  • Artist-in-Residence, Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site, Ganado, AZ, July 2011.

  • Artist-in-Residence, Grand Canyon National Park South Rim, August 2010.

  • Participant, National Endowment for the Humanities seminar, “Concord, Massachusetts: Feminists, Utopians, and Social Reform in the Age of Emerson and Thoreau,” Concord, MA, July 2012.

  • Participant, Grand Canyon Historical Society Symposium, January, 2012.

  • Participant, National Endowment for the Humanities summer institute, “A Fierce Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and the Roots of Environmental Ethics,” Prescott, AZ, 2009.

  • Recipient, Editors Choice Award in Spirit First 2011 poetry contest, for “In Northern India Right Now…”

  • Finalist, national poetry book competition, for Somebody is Dying to be Heard, The Teacher’s Voice, 2009.

  • Finalist, essay competition, for “This Fox,” Alligator Juniper, Prescott, AZ, 2009.

  • Nominee for Pushcart Prize, an annual award for the best of small press writing, 2015, 2013, 2012, 2006, 1999.

  • Nominee, Association of Community College Trustees Teacher of the Year Award, 2011. Nominated by Board of Trustees of Western Wyoming Community College.

  • Recipient, “Faculty Extra Mile Award,” 2011. Nominated by WWCC fellow faculty members.

  • Honorable Mention, Wyoming Arts Council Literary Fellowship, 2013, 2009, 2006.

  • Recipient, Wyoming Arts Council Literary Fellowship, 1990.


Editing Projects

  • Going Down Grand: Poems from the Canyon (with co-editor Peter Anderson), Fruita, CO: Lithic Press, 2015.

  • On Foot: Grand Canyon Backpacking Stories, Flagstaff: Vishnu Temple Press, 2014

Books, Etc.

  • Ten Thousand Voices (poetry) Oakland, CA: Littoral Press, 2013

  • Keeping the Quiet (poetry), Shoreline, WA: Bellowing Ark Press, 2008

  • What the Canyon Teaches, poetry broadside designed and published by Littoral Press, 2011

Poems in Journals, Anthologies, etc. (partial list)

Ah the Night, Too Vast for Sleep!” Museum of Northern Arizona Grand Muse Exhibit of Grand Canyon Artist in Residence work, November 2016-February 2017

“The Swallows,” "Grandma Sits Down," and "A Circle of Family," Manifest West: Women of the West (Gunnison: Western Press) 2017

"Rim Walk, Night" and "Kicking Cairns, " GRAPH(feeties), 2017

A Triptych for Thoreau,” The Concord Saunterer, 2017

We Take Turns Dropping Things,” Whitefish Review, (Whitefish, MT), 2016

"This Night, This Road,” "Hands," Rat’s Ass Review, 2016

"Be, Be, Buddha Said,” In the Evening the Two of Us,” Buddhist Poetry Review, 2015

Whoever It Was Out There on the Path,” Perfume River Poetry, 2015

Call It Ours,” A Year of Being Here, 2015

“Avalanche Canyon,” Owen Wister Review (Laramie, WY)

“Lately They have Been Telling Me Not to Call My Mother,” Apeiron Review (Philadelphia, PA)

“Epiphany,” Pilgrimage (Colorado Springs, CO)

“Long After Memory is Gone,” Manifest West: Even Cowboys Carry Cell Phones (Gunnison: Western Press, 2013)

“The Urgency,” Whitefish Review, (Whitefish, MT)

“Engines of Intolerance” The Raven Chronicles (Seattle, WA)

“No Excuses,” “My Student Calls Me ‘Hon,’” Teaching English in the Two-Year College

“Sitting on the Bottom of the Pool,” The Chaffey Review, (Chaffey College, Chino, CA)

“All of this Map Gazing,” “Kicking Cairns,” Cartography (Imagination & Place Press, Lawrence, KS)

“Wrecking Ball,” Chrysalis (Swedenborg Foundation, Dillwyn, VA)

“Last Night, A Big Round Cloud,” Flights (Sinclair Community College, Dayton, OH)

“I Am Sorry, Cricket in the Corner,” “Kicking Cairns,” Jackson Hole Review (Jackson, WY)

“In the Evening the Two of Us,” Mountain Gazette

“Vivaldi’s Violin,” Pinyon (Mesa State University, Grand Junction, CO)

“Ode to Paperclips,” Trigger (online)

“The Day After My Mother Dies I Return to Class,” Teaching English in the Two-Year College.

“We Were Not Meant to Be Heavy,” Air Out / In Air: 21 Poets for the Guatemala Stove Project (Toronto, 2011).

“Taminah,” “In Northern India Right Now” (Spirit First: Langley Park, MD)

“Thirst and Water,” Market Place. Chrysalis (Swedenborg Foundation, Dillwyn, VA)

“All We Want Is a Path,” “One of Them,” “The Secret of Bruce Cooley,” Town Creek Review (online)

“You Do Not Need to Fear the Heat,” Leveler (online)

“No Voices, Please,” “Instead of Yes, But,” Deronda Review (Madison, WI)

“A Figure of Sound,” Ruminate (Fort Collins, CO)

“In the Church of the Cactus Forest,” “At Ribbon Falls,” Moments of the Soul: Poems of Mindfulness and Meditation.  (Spirit First: Langley Park, MD)

“This Night, This Road,” “Because I Am Tactful and Lewd,” Touching: Poems of Love, Longing and Desire.  (Fearless Books, Berkeley, CA)

“What the Canyon Teaches,” Grand Canyon National Park Artist-in-Residence brochure (Grand Canyon, AZ)

“Keeping the Quiet,” “Ten Times Today,” Telling It Real: The Best of Pilgrimage 2003-2008. (Crestone, CO)

“Transition Zone,” “Chiricahua,” Restoring Connections: Sky Island Alliance Newsletter (Tucson, AZ)

“Count This with the Miracles of Childhood,” Xanadu (Huntington, NY)

“Lying on a Public Lawn,” “The Emergency,” Edge (Lake Tahoe, NV)

“What’s Truly Yours,” “The Why Poem,” The J Journal (John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York)

“At Ribbon Falls,” “Eating My Hands,” Pilgrimage (Crestone, CO)

“The Rudeness,” Bellevue Literary Review (Langone Medical Center, New York University, NY)

“Prayer for My Mother” Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose about Alzheimer’s Disease (Kent State University)

“Don’t Go Back to Sleep” Your Turn: Stories of Renewal. Chrysalis (Swedenborg Foundation, Dillwyn, VA)

“History of My Water Bottle, June 21, 1987,” Tonopah Review (online)

“Nothing Dies Here,” Hope Whispers (Whispering Angel Books, Burbank, CA)

“Once, My Students and I Were Laughing” Teaching English in the Two-Year College (Urbana, IL)

“Minions,” “Passing It On,” Out of Line (Trenton, Ohio)

“Handouts,” “Barry’s Free Verse,” Two Review (Anchorage, Alaska)

“Friday, 4 P.M.,” “The Calling,” “Be Like This Gourd,” “The Student from Hell,” “I Wish for Us,” “Room to Grow,” “A Circle of Family,” “Poem for Bruce,” “To Know the Trail,” Bellowing Ark (Shoreline, WA)

“For a Librarian: In Memory of Robert Kalabas,” Outrider (Cheyenne, WY)

“At Spirit Lake,” Breaking Through to Other Worlds (Swedenborg Foundation, Dillwyn, VA)

“Inheritance,” “Two Men on an Island” Matter (Ft. Collins, CO)

“Twice a Day, Infinity” “I Give Up My Claim,” Red Rock Review (Community College of Southern Nevada)

“What’s Truly Yours,” Haight Ashbury Journal (San Francisco, CA)

Essays in Journals and Anthologies (partial list)

“Alms for the Birds,” Alligator Juniper (Prescott College), 2017

“Lost Fathers,” Santa Fe Literary Review, 2017

“Urban Heights,” Under One Sun (Lincoln University) 2017

“Intimate Strangers,” New Madrid Review (Murray State University), 2017

“Tale of a Tent,” Watershed Review (Chico State University), 2017

“Thirst and Water” (excerpts), Manifest West: Serenity and Severity (Gunnison: Western Press) 2016

“Bob’s Hat,” Pinyon (Mesa State University, Grand Junction, CO) 2016

“Honing the Edge,” Blue Lyra Review, 2015

“Change for a Ten,” Little Patuxent Review (Columbia, MD) 2015

“On Static Peak,” Watershed Review (Chico State University), 2015

“Eddie and Me,” BioStories Magazine, 2015

“Harvesting the Stones,” Los Angeles Review (Los Angeles, CA) 2015

“Continental Divide,” Los Angeles Review (Los Angeles, CA) 2013

“Claim Your Due: A Backpacker’s View of River-Runners,” Camas (University of Montana, Missoula) 2011

“She Waits for Me Each Morning,” What's Nature Got to Do with Me? (Native West Press, Prescott, AZ) 2011

“Return to Point Sublime,” Imaginaton and Place: Ownership (Imagination and Place Press, Kansas City) 2010

“Not At All Like Despair,” Los Angeles Review (Los Angeles, CA) 2010

“It’s Cold, He’s Laughing, He’s Oh So Warm,” Cream City Review (University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee) 2010

“This Fox,” Alligator Juniper (Prescott College, Prescott, AZ) 2009

“Whitewashed,” Puerto del Sol (New Mexico State University, Las Cruses, NM) 2009

“Capable of Killing,” South Loop Review. (Columbia College, Chicago) 2008

“Lucky,” Redivider (Emerson College, Boston, MA) 2008

“One Set of Prints for Two,” Under One Sun (Lincoln University, Jefferson City, MO) 2008

“Redrawing the Lines,” Your Turn! Stories of Renewal. (Swedenborg Foundation, Dillwyn, VA), 2008

“Loving My Neighbor,” Between Fences (Cheyenne: Wyoming Arts Council) 2007

“The Man Who Is Given to Motion,” Midway (St. Paul, MN) 2007

“No Bounds,” Cream City Review (University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, WI) 2007

“No One Who Is Not Home Will Get Home,” Matter (Ft. Collins, CO) 2007

“Nothing Between Us Now But Love,” Healing Muse (Center for Bioethics and Humanities, Syracuse, NY) 2007

“Plenum,” Owen Wister Review (University of Wyoming) 2007

“The Church of the Chance Encounter,” Redivider (Emerson College, Boston, MA) 2006

“Coming Into Being: A Grand Canyon Hike,” Matter (Ft. Collins, CO) 2006

“Nightshift,” Duct.org (New York, NY) 2006

“Notes from Highway One,” Matter (Ft. Collins, CO) 2006

“Confessions of a Hoarder” Puerto del Sol (New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM) 2002

“The Wind” (essay), American Nature Writing1997 (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books) and Tumblewords: Writers Reading the West (Reno: University of Nevada Press) 1995

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