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Bio

Susan M. Peiffer has been writing and telling stories since they were a young child. Perhaps it was inevitable that they would call grappling with words and language as a career—and loving every moment. She is privileged to share their work with a large and welcoming audience. Get in touch to discover more about their work, writing process and future endeavors.

Susan M. Peiffer is published and nationally recognized poet and spoken word artist with twenty years of experience in both the literary and academic realms. An educator and community activator, she has worked since 2012 to elevate literary arts and spoken word poetry in Colorado Springs. Encouraging others to listen, write, and share, she has been involved in leadership with Hear Here Poetry and recently served as fifth Poet Laureate of the Pikes Peak Region. Recognized for five consecutive years by the Pikes Peak Arts Council with awards in performance poetry and leadership, and named the Colorado Springs RAW Artist of the year, Susan’s confessional and observational writing covers social topics using colorful language and unique cadences to inspire urgency and conversation around intersectional issues affecting today’s society. She is the author of four short books and has been published in a wide variety of anthologies, magazines, and reviews; a fifth collection of works is set for print in 2022. Susan is an animated and inclusive presenter who readily engages audiences and inspires the unique circumstances into which poems arrive.

 

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Education: Augsburg University, Minneapolis, Minnesota — B.A.s in Creative Writing and Youth and Family Ministry, music minor, 1998
Luther Seminary; St. Paul, Minnesota — M.A. in Youth and Family Ministry, 2002, Th.D. in Christian Gender Ethics, 2010

April, 2016 - April, 2018

Poet Laureate, Pikes Peak Library District

With the literary community’s commission—Gave readings and performances at numerous Colorado events, visited local schools, libraries, and social clubs to increase understanding of and enthusiasm for poetry, led workshops for multiple audiences including veterans, survivors of domestic violence, youth, children, and incarcerated men.

April, 2012 - ongoing

Curator, Hear Here Poetry

Serving in the roles of curator, “Slam Ma’am”, program director, and executive director —developed a monthly open-mic event into a sustainable non-profit, collaborated with several community organizations running programs for teen suicide prevention, Iraq Veterans Against the War, local venue spaces and media outlets, and invested deeply in multiple school district classrooms.

April, 2008 - September, 2011

Program Director, Mountain Meadow, Philadelphia, PA

With a population of youth aged 7-17 whose parents registered somewhere on the queer spectrum— Created a year-round speaker’s program that enabled students to effectively tell their stories in a variety of public venues, additionally ran a two week long residential summer camp with full programming facilitation.

August 2001 - August, 2007

Theology Teacher, St. Mark's High School, Wilmington, Delaware

Working with the writings of the New and Old Testaments of the Christian canon—held office hours, wrote letters of recommendation, facilitated community immersion in the arts by guiding students in attending local poetry and performance events.

Additional Skills & Experience

Educator | Poet | Theologian

Extensive knowledge of poetry conventions and principles such as meter, blank verse, characterization, point of view, free verse, and open form, thorough understanding of grammar and syntax, finely tuned editing skills, and a strong background in teaching creative writing at all academic levels (third grade through undergraduate), and aiding students in creating comprehensive portfolios and bodies of work.


Guest lectured upper humanities courses at Colorado College, Naropa University, and the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs in Women and Gender Studies, Social Justice and Poetry, Queer Narratives, and Walking as a creative and poetic adventure—created syllabi, assignments, and reading lists, lead discussion groups, office hours, and critique salons that fostered constructive conversation.


Freelance commissioned works, contracted as an editor, toured both the United States and Canada performing as a featured artist.


Participated from 2012-2016 as an individual, team member, and coach at the National Poetry Slam, Women of the World Poetry Slam, Individual World Poetry Slam, the Denver 40 oz., and the New Mexico Southwest Shootout, performed in Oakland, California on the Nationals final stage and won a title for collaboratively voiced performance pieces.


Began Colorado Springs city-wide high school program that continues still with annual participation in Brave New Voices, the national teenage slam tournament. Began the inaugural Pikes Peak Youth Poet Laureate program in partnership with Urban Word, NYC.

Please request personal and professional references and additional information on performances, lectures, workshops, competitions, accolades, or publications.