Shumaker, Peggy 1952–

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Shumaker, Peggy 1952–


Born March 22, 1952, in La Mesa, CA. Ethnicity: "Norwegian-American." Education: University of Arizona, B.A., 1974, M.F.A., 1979.


Office—Fairbanks, AK. E-mail—[email protected].


Arizona Commission on the Arts, Phoenix, writer in residence, 1979-85; University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, visiting assistant professor of creative writing, 1985-86; Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, director of creative writing, 1986-88, director of Old Dominion University Literary Festival, 1987-88; University of Alaska Fairbanks, codirector of creative writing, 1988-99, associate professor, 1991-93, professor of English, 1993-99, professor emeritus, 1999—, department head, 1991-93. Arizona State University, faculty associate in creative writing, 1983-85; Pacific Lutheran University, professor at Rainier Writing Workshop, 2003—; featured poet at writers' conferences and other literary gatherings; coordinator of events such as Midnight Sun Writers Conference, 1990, and Alaskan Poetry Festival, 1990; literary judge for Western States Book Awards, 1995, and Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry from Nimrod, 1995. Epoch Universal Publications, managing editor, 1980-81.


Associated Writing Programs (member of board of directors, 1990—; vice president, 1991-92; president, 1992-93).


National Endowment for the Arts fellow, 1989.


Esperanza's Hair (poetry), University of Alabama Press (Tuscaloosa, AL), 1985.

The Circle of Totems (poetry), University of Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, PA), 1988.

Braided River (poetry chapbook), Limner Press (Anchorage, AK), 1993.

Wings Moist from the Other World (poetry), University of Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, PA), 1994.

Underground Rivers (poetry), Red Hen Press (Los Angeles, CA), 2001.

Blaze (poetry), Red Hen Press (Los Angeles, CA), 2005.

Just Breathe Normally (nonfiction), University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 2007.


The themes of Peggy Shumaker's free verse include surviving abusive relationships, finding an individual identity in relation to contemporary feminism, addressing the half-truths of her past, and protecting the environment. Michael Bugeja of Writer's Digest wrote that Shumaker's poetry "is rich with image and viewpoint, meaning that she tries to see the world in insightful and innovative ways, often through the eyes of others." Bugeja speculated that Shumaker may have developed the ability to adopt different perspectives through her community work with inmates, deaf adults, gang members, unwed mothers, and gifted students.



Contemporary Poets, 6th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.


Bloomsbury Review, January, 1995, review of Wings Moist from the Other World, p. 20.

Kliatt Young Adult Paperback Book Guide, November, 1994, review of Wings Moist from the Other World, p. 27.

Publishers Weekly, November 8, 1993, review of Wings Moist from the Other World, p. 70.

Writer's Digest, February, 1996, article by Michael Bugeja, p. 12.


Peggy Shumaker Home Page, (February 12, 2007).